Win in week 1; Quinn in week 2?

Out­side line­backer seems poised to make bears de­but against the Gi­ants, and Mack is look­ing for­ward to it

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARS BEAT - BY MARK POTASH mpotash@sun­times.com @markpotash

Robert Quinn was the cen­ter­piece ac­qui­si­tion of the Bears’ off­sea­son. Quar­ter­back Nick Foles still had to beat out Mitch Tru­bisky. Tight end Jimmy Gra­ham is good but at 33 not what he used to be. And tight end Cole Kmet is a rookie.

Quinn is in his prime at 30, com­ing off an 11½-sack sea­son with the Cow­boys, and signed to the most ex­pen­sive con­tract — five years, $70 mil­lion. And he’s here to give the Bears a much-needed pass-rush­ing com­ple­ment to Khalil Mack.

So the an­tic­i­pa­tion that Quinn will play Sun­day against the Gi­ants is pretty high af­ter he prac­ticed Fri­day. He seems men­tally and phys­i­cally ready to make his Bears de­but. It’s a long-awaited chance for the Bears to max­i­mize the 28-year-old Mack in his prime.

It re­mains to be seen how it will work out. Even high-end free-agent ac­qui­si­tions in the NFL are no sure thing. Quinn is mak­ing a tran­si­tion from 4-3 de­fen­sive end to 3-4 out­side line­backer.

And Quinn has been a bit of a mys­tery af­ter a chal­leng­ing off­sea­son with the lim­i­ta­tions of COVID-19. He spent most of train­ing camp in con­di­tion­ing mode af­ter deal­ing with a per­sonal is­sue. Then the an­kle in­jury last week.

“I can’t pre­dict the fu­ture,” said Quinn, who, like Mack, is listed as ques­tion­able. “But I can tell you I know how I work, how this team works and my ex­pec­ta­tions. I be­lieve it’s gonna work. I be­lieve we can be very dom­i­nant.

“We’ve seen what they’ve been do­ing the last few years. I’m just an­other ad­di­tion. I’m just bring­ing my God-given abil­i­ties and try­ing to do what­ever I can to help this de­fense take an­other step. They al­ready had great pieces. I’m just here to join the fun.”

Mack-Quinn has the po­ten­tial to be a dev­as­tat­ing 1-2 punch, maybe the best pass­rush­ing duo the Bears have had since the hey­day of Hall of Famers Richard Dent and Dan Hamp­ton. The Bears have not had two play­ers with 10 or more sacks since Dent (12½) and Trace Arm­strong (11½) in 1993.

“It’s not just Khalil,” Quinn said. “I’ve been anx­ious to play with the whole de­fense. I’m def­i­nitely ex­cited to see what I can bring — see what we can bring as a tan­dem, and not just us. We’re all ca­pa­ble of mak­ing plays.”

Nagy said Quinn “had a good week” of prac­tice, but the de­ci­sion will be made Sun­day to un­leash the Mack-Quinn com­bi­na­tion against Gi­ants quar­ter­back Daniel Jones, who led the NFL with 18 fum­bles last sea­son, los­ing 11.

“Any­time you have Robert Quinn on one side and Khalil Mack on the other side . . . of­fen­sively, you’ve got to know where ev­ery­body’s at now,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘You can’t just pick a side. It’s ex­cit­ing. We’ll see where we go with it. But Robert had a good week.”

Though he hasn’t had any­thing close to a full train­ing camp, Quinn was not con­cerned.

“In the off­sea­son, I worked my tail off,” he said. “Train­ing camp, I wasn’t able to par­tic­i­pate a lot, but I was still con­di­tion­ing. I don’t want to put words in guys’ mouths, but they said I looked in pretty good shape. Foot­ball’s foot­ball. I train my­self hard enough. I’ve got the play­book down pretty well. Now it’s just get­ting out there with the guys, get­ting the chem­istry on point. But so far, so good.”

As ea­ger as Quinn is to fi­nally play, there might be no­body hap­pier to see him on the field than Mack.

“Yeah, I’m look­ing for­ward to it,” Mack said Fri­day af­ter prac­tice. “I know he’s a spe­cial player, spe­cial tal­ent. Not only that, he’s a great guy. I know it’s gonna be fun.” ✶

RON JENK­INS/AP

Free-agent ac­qui­si­tion Robert Quinn, who had 11½ sacks with the Cow­boys last sea­son, is mak­ing the tran­si­tion from 4-3 de­fen­sive end to 3-4 out­side line­backer with the Bears this sea­son.

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