Roquan Smith is cut from a different cloth.
The highly skilled Pro Bowl caliber linebacker has size, speed, instincts, and more that allow him to do anything and everything on the field. And after a 2020 season in which he had more solo tackles than Bobby Wagner … more tackles, sacks, QB Hits, and tackles-for-loss than Darius Leonard … and more total tackles, solo tackles, tackles-for-loss, and Saks than Fred Warner, Smith could’ve rested on his laurels this summer.
And yet, here we are:
The only starter on the #Bears defense that was at voluntary OTA’s today was Roquan Smith.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 2, 2021
Seeing Smith as the only defensive starter starter cuts two ways. On one the one hand, you’d think a defense with a new coordinator would be itching to get to work with the new guy. But on the other hand, most of these guys have been playing alongside each other for a number of years. And because Sean Desai was already on staff, it’s not as if there isn’t some semblance of familiarity. If I had a third hand, I’d point out that we’re talking about *voluntary* practice. Voluntary, by definition, is a something done with one’s free will. Synonyms include discretionary, elective, and optional. In other words, “no harm, no foul” when discussing something nonessential.
But here’s the good news for anyone fretting about this:
Bears coach Matt Nagy makes it clear that all the defensive players who aren’t on the field during OTAs — Mack, Goldman, Hicks, Jackson, Gipson, Quinn etc — are taking part in the Zoom meetings with the rest of the team and that part is voluntary, too.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) June 2, 2021
Alright, so it’s not as if the Bears’ defense is completely out of pocket for this round of voluntary OTAs. That players such as Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Eddie Jackson, Tashaun Gipson Sr., Eddie Goldman, and Akiem Hicks are still showing up for Zoom meetings is a good sign. Because those meetings are voluntary, too.
If there is anything we should’ve learned over the last 15 months or so, it’s that we don’t need to always be in a building to be productive at work. Now, if these guys don’t show up for mandatory OTAs, then we can maybe start nervously tugging on our collars. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, we’ll enjoy Roquan Smith going above and beyond as he gears up for his fourth NFL season.