There were plenty of stories to come out of Green Bay. One that people probably didn’t expect was how bad Roquan Smith looked. In all honesty, the Chicago Bears linebacker hasn’t played anywhere close to a superstar level so far this season. He’s been a non-factor in the run game, with the Bears surrendering 376 yards on the ground over the last two weeks. His coverage hasn’t been much better, as both Trey Lance and Aaron Rodgers sometimes picked on him.
When watching him on tape, it’s clear Smith isn’t playing his position the way he should be. Too often, it feels like he’s trying to make a big play. He is pressing. When that happens, mistakes are made. The great irony is the linebacker so desperately wants his money that he is making himself look bad in the process. Forget $100 million. At this rate, Smith won’t even become one of football’s top five highest-paid linebackers.
The decision not to accept the Bears’ offer is looking worse and worse by the day.
Trey Lance ➡️ Ray-Ray McCloud. Trey fits it in perfectly over the outstretched Roquan Smith for the 20-yard completion. 🎯 #49ers pic.twitter.com/JObg4Recvw
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) September 12, 2022
Randall Cobb vs Roquan Smith… Nice side arm pass from Rodgers. Easy first down. pic.twitter.com/GbFYb743Jt
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) September 19, 2022
Roquan Smith needs to trust the system.
This defense can make him highly productive. It worked for Lance Briggs. It can work for him. The problem is he doesn’t trust it. That can be chalked up to a lack of familiarity. He had never played in a 4-3 defense before this year. One could blame his decision not to participate for most of training camp as a reason he looks so lost at times. He likely presumed everything would be fine. Four years of excellent play had given him unshakeable confidence.
Now he must be feeling the pressure. Each poor performance tanks zeroes off his next contract. GM Ryan Poles was already unwilling to meet his price tag. That reluctance will only strengthen by next spring. Roquan Smith needs to regain his old form fast. Otherwise, his future with the organization could become murky by next March. If he can’t show an ability to thrive in this defense, the Bears aren’t going to pay him like one.
Roquan has looked really slow first two games. People chalked it up to the rain in game one. Packers game showed it wasnt the rain.
Poles did the right thing. People on these sites were calling me out right and left for suggesting that Smith could/should have been traded. Everyone seemingly wanted to pay him whatever he wanted because he was the “best player on the defense”. In fairness to him; give him time to adjust to the new position and system. He’s a great athlete and competitor. He’ll be fine. But I DON’T think he’ll be a top 5 LB and DO think he was foolish for not retaining professional representation. Assuming he settles in, he could be worth a very nice paycheck next… Read more »
There goes Quan – overrunning a play and allowing a cutback yet again! He’s talented but doesn’t seem to be learning from his mistakes and poor discipline. Not sure what I’d offer this guy to stay on next year. . . $8 million? $10 million? Probably not more than that. And he’s going to have to improve this season for me to even want to offer him that much. Boy, did he ever make a bad decision not to take their money. Boy, am I glad Poles held firm with his evaluation!
Could it be that Roquan is simply not cut out as an outside backer? Does he need to get back to where he was comfortable?
Roquan likes to think of himself as the best LB in the league and feels he should be compensated as such. No Pro Bowl appearances; no 1st Team All-Pro accolades; no consistent game-changing plays, e.g., INTs, forced fumbles, etc…and no opponents fearing him enough to gameplan around him. I applaud Poles for not allowing Roquan to punk him. I say let him play out the season then don’t even franchise tag him. Let him walk. It’s not worth the drama and headache to re-sign him.