The 2019 Chicago Bears’ training camp is under way and the team’s August 8 debut at home against the Panthers around the corner, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.
Today: Inside linebackers
The Starters: Danny Trevathan (2.0 sacks, 102 tackles, 4 quarterback hits, 8 tackles-for-loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions; 73.7 PFF grade), Roquan Smith (5.0 sacks, 121 tackles, 5 quarterback hits, 8 tackles-for-loss; 67.4 PFF grade)
The Backups: Nick Kwiatkoski, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Woods, Jameer Thurman, James Vaughters, Kevin Pierre-Louis
Potential Training Camp Star: Roquan Smith is getting his first training camp reps as a pro after missing out while waiting for a contract he was willing to sign. Smith led the team in tackles last year and played so well, it was easy to forget he was a holdout. If you make your way to Bourbonnais, keep a close eye on Smith because his speed pops.
We Really Like: Danny Trevathan is an unheralded star in the middle of the defense. Trevathan is solid against the run and still has enough juice to be a factor against the pass. He is a sure-armed tackler who doesn’t make mistakes in the open field. All of that stuff stands out on tape, but it’s the intangibles that stand out to me. Trevathan is a hungry leader with Super Bowl-winning experience. He is a guy other players want to suit up with and go into battle alongside. It’s easy to rally around a player like Trevathan, especially when he is healthy and making plays.
We Might Be Worried About: There isn’t much that troubles me when it comes to thinking about this group in 2019, but I can’t say the same about the long-term picture. Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski are free agents after the season. Joel Iyiegbuniwe has some under-the-radar talent and his upside is intriguing because his speed is a plus. However, he has just 24 defensive snaps under his belt. This group is strong with its starters, even if though there would be a drop-off if the top reserves end up taking a ton of snaps.
2019 Forecast: The Bears defense has playmakers who can create pressure up front and on the edge, but it’s the pair of starting inside linebackers who tie together one of football’s best front-sevens. With Smith and Trevathan securing the middle, Chicago’s front seven has no weakness. And if Smith can tighten up some things, he will be in a position to become the next young Pro Bowl star on an already loaded defense. As for Trevathan’s veteran leadership, the Bears will need it to guide them through to what will hopefully be a Super Bowl trip in Miami.