Everything is set for former Chicago Bears star linebacker Roquan Smith to make his debut for the Baltimore Ravens. Smith was traded at the deadline for second and fifth-round draft picks. The move followed an offseason rife with contention as he sought a new lucrative contract from a newly-installed regime.
After a holdout that lasted into training camp and after Smith appeared in every game in the regular season, the Bears made the trade at the dealing — roughly one week after trading Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Smith was originally selected with the eighth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Now he moves from a Bears team whose focus is on the future and quarterback to one in the Ravens where the immediate goal is the Super Bowl. Ahead of his debut against the New Orleans Saints, Smith sent out a heartfelt message to Bears Nation.
Roquan Smith Sends Message to Bears Nation Ahead of Ravens Debut
Smith’s Letter to Chicago
Smith posted the message in an Instagram story. The note covers some individuals such as former Bears general manager Ryan Pace who drafted Smith and Dick Butkus because “he knows why”, says Smith. But it mostly focuses on the fans, the city, and the opportunity he has ahead of him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 7, 2022
The 25-year-old Smith enters the week with 83 combined tackles. That is seven off the league leader, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks, with Monday’s game to go for Smith.
His old team surely could have used his presence against the Miami Dolphins.
They only rushed for 77 yards between Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. But they racked up 255 passing yards in the second and third quarters alone on Sunday with plenty of it coming in one area of the field.
Tua had his way in the intermediate areas pic.twitter.com/3rVUgysnVQ
— Josh Buckhalter (@JoshGBuck) November 7, 2022
“It was different,” said linebacker Nicholas Morrow. “Obviously on that, it was different.”
After four years and 607 career tackles, Smith now heads to the East Coast in hopes of helping sure up a once-stout Ravens defense.
It’s a defense that has allowed 100 yards on the ground in half of its games this season.
Whether or not Smith is the solution to Baltimore’s problems remains to be seen. But he is already missed in the locker room and in the city and the feeling seems to be mutual.
Gipson on Quinn
One of the most maligned aspects of the Bears’ defense has been the pass rush or lack thereof. Through nine weeks, the Bears rank 21st in pressure rate and 29th in sacks and are roughly two weeks removed from shipping out their most accomplished sack artist.
Quinn’s trade to the Philadelphia Eagles benefits him in many of the same ways as Smith in Baltimore.
Likewise, Quinn’s impact on the Bears’ locker room will not be forgotten either.
“Just remembering the tips and the tendencies that he left me with, honestly,” EDGE Trevis Gipson said. “Just basically attacking the game – being relentless…It’s really just now I have to make a phone call. I can’t come into the locker room and talk to the guys. It’s really just stepping into that leadership and stepping into that role and knowing that it’s going to be a handful. But I got two hands to carry it.”
Gipson, who has stepped into the starting role vacated by Quinn, leads the team in pressures and the EDGE rotation in sacks with two. But replacing the experience of Quinn – the Bears’ single-season sack leader – and the attention he draws is a different story.
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