LAKE FOREST – Heads or tails.
Sometimes breaking down some of life’s biggest choices can be summed up with something so simple. Robert Quinn thought so when he joined reporters on a conference call last Friday.
Why did he join the Bears? What were the factors that made the pass rusher decided to come to Chicago instead of going to Atlanta, who Quinn revealed was the other finalist for his services?
Well there were a few, but in the end, Quinn put it to reporters in this way.
“It was pretty tough, that’s basically what it boiled down to was a coin flip,” said Quinn of choosing the Bears. “How about this – the Bears were on the right side of it. I don’t regret it.”
So was that the truth? Clarification came later from Bears public relations that it was more a figure of speech than a true coin flip to decide the fourth stop in his NFL career.
It’s not like he hasn’t done this before.
“It’s basically how I picked my college,” said Quinn, who chose to attend North Carolina. “I thought I wanted to have one place and woke up the next morning going somewhere else. I think the powers above always does things in a funny way, so I think I’m going to Chicago for a reason.”
Ryan Pace is probably happy the “coin” came out on his side, since it was the general manager who made the call for the veteran instead of his 2016 first round draft pick. Leonard Floyd was due $13.2 million this upcoming season, and his inability to put consistent pressure on the quarterback (one sack in final 15 games) forced Pace to make a choice that helped the Bears right now.
“One of the first things that comes to mind when you strengthen you team is your pass rush, affecting the opposing quarterback. We just feel like Quinn’s a proven pass rusher, he’s got excellent edge speed, he’s got outstanding ability to bend the corner,” said Pace of Quinn. “We take a position of strength on our defense and make it even stronger when you add Quinn and you combine him with the players your already have up there, especially upfront.
“I think the Quinn-Leonard Floyd decision – look, Leonard had some very good years here, he was a key part of a top defense, and I don’t think acquiring Robert is not necessarily a knock on Leonard. It’s just doing what we feel is best for our team.”
But like Quinn, it’s a flip of the coin to see if it will work. Floyd signed very quickly with the Rams, and is still a young enough player to develop into a pass rusher. Meanwhile, Quinn has enjoyed a mid-to-late career renaissance after a few so-so seasons following the strong start he had with the Rams.
He’s come up with 26 1/2 sacks the last three seasons in Los Angeles, Miami, and Dallas, with this 2019 season with the Cowboys being the best of all of them. He got 11 1/2 sacks in 14 games, which brought up memories of his first few years in St. Louis when he was one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL.
A figurative “coin flip” put the Bears on the right side of the coin, and if he can be at his best, then Pace’s choice will be one that could change the course of the Bears’ defense in the near future.