To say the Chicago Bears’ pass rush struggled this season would be an understatement. They ranked dead last in the NFL with just 20 sacks on the season, their fewest since the 2003 season. But that team finished 7-9 and took a step back the following season going 5-11 in Lovie Smith’s first year at the helm.
What’s more, the Bears’ pass rush ranked 32nd in overall pressures, 32nd in pass DVOA according to Football Outsiders, 32nd in Pro Football Focus’ final rankings, and had the 13th-most missed tackles in the league this season.
Needless to say, improvements are needed but there is still hope for some of the pieces along the front including EDGE rusher Trevis Gipson who just completed his third NFL season.
Gipson graded himself and talked about the improvements he hopes to make this offseason.
Trevis Gipson Gives Honest Self-Assessment Following Down Season for Bears Pass Rush
Making The Grade
“Personally I’m [going to] give myself probably a ‘D’ if not ‘F’,” Gipson said. “The sack numbers went down but, I don’t know, if I’m basing it off production probably that grade. But, if I’m basing it off improvement, probably a ‘C’. I got better in areas but it’s a new scheme and it’s a lot of things I realize I need to work on.”
Gipson, a fifth-round pick out of Tulsa in the 2020 NFL Draft, posted just three sacks this season after posting seven last year in his sophomore campaign rotating in and subbing for Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack the latter of whom was traded before this season.
The 6-foot-4, 263-pound Gipson was only able to record one sack after Quinn was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coming off a year in which he also forced five fumbles and seemed poised for a breakout with a more prominent role in the defense, it is easy to only see this as a disappointment. But there were positives to take away and build on including the fact that he appeared in every game for the second year in a row while setting a new career high with 10 starts.
He recorded 11 quarterback hits, four more than last season, with eight of them coming after he stepped into the starting lineup.
Gipson said he plans to “put my head down and work” on his game this offseason.
“Change of direction, working more speed-to-power on pass rushes and counters,” Gipson said. “But things that fit my playing ability and playing style. Not just, going out there and figuring it out through the game. I didn’t do that much this season. But there was times where I was uncertain of how guys would react to things that I did.”
Bears Living on the EDGE
There figures to be plenty of competition for him to test his mettle with teammate Domonique Robinson figuring to improve upon his rookie season and veteran Al-Quadin Muhammad also still under contract.
The Bears still figure to add at least one pass rusher either via the draft or in free agency and, with all of their cap space and a full slate of draft picks, it will likely be both.
So what message would Gipson have for anyone coming in next season?
“Work hard. Get ready to have your track shoes on and, really, just be relentless. Get ready for the mental and physical endurance [needed] honestly.
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