Trevis Gipson was a pleasant surprise for the Chicago Bears in 2021. After a quiet rookie year, the former 5th round pick stepped up with seven sacks last season. His ability to step up in the wake of Khalil Mack’s season-ending foot injury kept the defense respectable. It was even more impressive that Gipson had remade his body to fit a position he wasn’t used to. He came out of Tulsa in 2020 as a defensive end. The Bears asked him to shift to outside linebacker. For him to accomplish that in one year can’t be understated.
Now just as he’s getting comfortable in that role, things have changed. Matt Eberflus arrives from Indianapolis as the new head coach. He brings a new defensive scheme, one based on the classic 4-3 alignment with many connections to the Lovie Smith system of the mid-to-late 2000s. One would think Gipson might be upset by this, having to change positions again. In truth, the opposite is true. He explained during his latest press conference on April 19th that he much prefers this new system to the old one.
It isn’t difficult to understand his thinking.
As a 4-3 defensive end, Trevis Gipson will have two responsibilities. Either set the edge against the run or get up the field to the quarterback. That’s it. Defensive ends don’t ever drop into coverage like outside linebackers must do in a 3-4. Eberflus believes that by simplifying things for a player, they will operate with greater speed and confidence. It is hard to argue that, given all his defenses’ success with the Colts.
The prospects are exciting for Gipson too. If he could produce seven sacks in a defense that never really fit him, imagine what he might accomplish in one that does. The Bears will let him attack up the field at every opportunity. Presuming he plays at the same level as last season, there is a strong possibility he might crack double-digit sacks. That would be a welcome development for a defense that figures to be in transition.