Roquan Smith Remains Limited, Taylor Gabriel Goes Deep, Bears Go Back to School, and Other Bullets

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Roquan Smith Remains Limited, Taylor Gabriel Goes Deep, Bears Go Back to School, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

I’m one of those people who believes that bad things happen in sets of three. But I’m also an optimist (Michael: Oh, ya? Well, I’m a carnivorous vegetarian). So I have a feeling that the best is yet to come for Roquan Smith, because the bad things have all happened already.

Think about it. Since being drafted, Smith has lost a team-issued iPad containing the team’s playbook, missed the training camp in Bourbonnais because of a holdout, and is now dealing with the injury bug. One.Two.Three. It’s over! Indeed, it’s been a rough rookie season for Smith and he hasn’t even played a down yet. But with all the bad stuff out of the way, it should be clear sailing from here on out.

… Right?

  • Roy Robertson-Harris has caught the eye of Andrew Dannehy over at Da Bears Blog, who believes the hard-rushing defensive end could be pass-rush threat the Bears need. If the Bears aren’t going to get pressure from their outside linebackers, the defensive line will have to put in that work to make up for it. On top of being steady and reliable, Mitch Unrein (the guy whose shoes Robertson-Harris is trying fill at starting defensive end) was a stud against the run. Robertson-Harris is holding his own in that regard, but is also making a habit of making things happen in the backfield.
  • Robertson-Harris caught our eye when he made some splash plays during the 2017 preseason and looked like a player who could be on the rise. He has since worked his way into the rotation after spending some time on the special teams unit. Now, Robertson-Harris is in a position to land a role as a starter on the defensive line next to Eddie Goldman and across from Akiem Hicks.
  • Perhaps Bilal Nichols can jump on our radar this season. Nichols is a rookie defensive lineman from Delaware who is battling for a spot on the season-opening 53-man roster. In a Q&A session with The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain, Nichols’ linemate Eddie Goldman shares that the rookie has flashed moves you might not expect from him just yet: “Bilal, he’s really good with his hands. He’s a really fast learner,” Goldman said. “It’s going to take some more games to fill it out, but he’s definitely a fast learner. His pass-rush moves are on a veteran level.”
  • That’s precisely the vibe I had when it came to Robertson-Harris last year. There was visible talent and skill, but there was still development that needed to be made. Because of the depth elsewhere on the line, the Bears can slow-play Nichols’ development and get him up to speed without risking putting too much on his plate right away.
  • If you were wondering about Goldman’s contract status, the Bears’ starting nose tackle says nothing has changed.
  • For what it’s worth, it was on this date last year when the Bears announced Charles Leno Jr.’s contract extension. We figured the deal was good for him, the team, and even Trubisky. And what did Leno do after signing his contract? Just earned his best grade by Pro Football Focus’ standards as he improved drastically as a pass-blocker in what was arguably his best year as a pro. Let’s keep the good times rolling.
  • After being without Taylor Gabriel for the first three preseason contests while nursing a foot injury, it’s good to read about what should be the first of many deep connections between him and quarterback Mitch Trubisky:

  • Creativity? On offense? Is that legal?

  • Trubisky still has a lot of learning left to do. On top of getting to know a new system, terminology, teammates, and coaches, Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times points out the Bears’ starting quarterback is set to take on his next big lesson – game-planning under a new head coach. If the game that takes place during Preseason Week 3 is the dress rehearsal, then everything leading up to the game should be a dress rehearsal for the dress rehearsal. Can we just get to the games already?
  • With injuries piling up and having to play five (seriously, four is more than enough) preseason games, I can understand the “Can we just get to the regular season games already?” vibe. But no, we can’t just get to the games already. And you know what … I’m fine with that. There are still jobs to be earned for players on the Bears’ 90-man preseason roster and I’m absolutely here to watch guys play their way into roster spots. Greg Gabriel of 670 The Score examines the Bears’ roster bubble and the injuries that could impact the decision-making process. Uncertainty surrounding injuries at tight end and throughout the linebackers corps could put some stress at other positions.
  • I’m a bit of a nerd, so I have a soft spot for that back to school feeling:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.