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.
— 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.