For his limited amount of snaps, Bears coaches have seen a talent that is diffcult to explain in defensive end Trevis Gipson.
It's not difficult for Gipson to explain, though. He just listened and watched veteran players and now coach Matt Eberflus' defense could benefit.
"The first thing with Gipson I noticed is he has a very good awareness of the quarterback," Bears defensive line coach Travis Smith said. "You guys know, he had a lot of ball production last year. And that's not 100 percent natural. That's not something that just comes naturally to everyone.
"He has good awareness that when you’re an edge rusher, that if guys get high in the pocket, he can come back inside. Or if he has the edge, then he can turn it where then he can affect that quarterback and also go for the ball."
Gipson's seven sacks last year were above solid considering he had less than 50% particpation on defensive plays for the year and didn't become a full-time starter until Khalil Mack's season-ending injury for Week 8.
Gipson wouldn't call it entirely natural because what he did was watch Mack and Robert Quinn closely, ask questions of them, take their advice and then make plays.
The advice was to go for the football.
"I think I picked it up from the vets in my room, Mack and Quinn, last year," he said. "They are just repeatedly saying, you know, 'you get the ball out, then you get credit for a sack and the forced fumble. You get the ball out from the quarterback, it counts for a bunch of stats.'
"And that's what overall helps guys' careers. That's what we do to get paid, this, that, and the third. I think getting the ball out is more important than tackling. I think it's more important than a lot of things. It can change the momentum of the game."
Gipson knocked it loose five times in 2022, piling up sacks and forced fumbles all in one. No Bears player has had more than that since Mack had six in 2018, but he was playing full time. It leaves it to the imagination what Gipson might do with a full season.
"That's a part of the reason I love this system, too, is because coach Flus and (defensive coordinator Alan) Williams, that's all they do is preach the ball," Smith said. "So it's just an extension of us (coaches). And he already showed that and flashed that on tape. He has very good quarterback ball awareness."
Former Bears edge Leonard Floyd started out with seven sacks but gradually lost the ability to close pass rushes until he got to Los Angeles. The Bears will be hoping Gipson can continue the progress he made, now with his hand down in the dirt as a defensive end after playing outside 3-4 linebacker in the old defense.
"Our mentality in our room, which if you look at it as 3-4, 4-3, in our 43 our guys are gonna start in a three-point stance," Smith said. "And talk about how we build a man from the ground up, it's not just football. Everything starts with our stance. Our alignment, our assignment, our key to technique.
"So you're going to see him come out of a three-point stance in practice. And that's about get-off. I don't care first, second or third down, everything we do is vertically penetrating, knock back and then we'll rush the passer. We'll play the run on the way to the quarterback."
In that case, Gipson will find the running backs sometimes have the ball, too.
It's simply another opportunity to accomplish what he's been taught by Mack, Quinn and coaches.
Trevis Gipson at a Glance
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 263 pounds, third year.
Career: 23 games with nine starts, 44 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, one recovery, seven QB hits, seven tackles for loss.
2021: 39 tackles, 24 solo, seven for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, one recovery.
The Number: 5. Of Gipson's seven sacks, five came over the final eight games after he became the starter with Khalil Mack's injury.
2022 FanNation Projection: 46 tackles, 12 for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles.