Roquan Smith’s postgame comments revealed all, or at least what he could reveal.
Smith was at a loss to say why the Bears played horrendous defense to start games against the best veteran quarterbacks they’ve faced this year, but he had some ideas why they had a particularly bad game against Dallas in a 49-29 loss.
The defense gave up 42 of those points, not all 49 as coach Matt Eberflus was quick to point out.
First, Smith took as much responsibility as he could, including a 1-yarder from Jake Ferguson in the second quarter.
“That’s my game,” Smith said. “I should have done it every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
This is unwarranted and, as I said, it starts with me.
“Defense, we didn’t play up to our standards and it’s unacceptable and it started with me. We just have to get better and we all have to get better with our individual assignments.”
Smith had five tackles, a season-low total in any game for a player who had led the NFL in tackles. To his credit, he’s taken responsibility, even though the linebackers in front of him are no longer doing anything to get blockers off all linebackers.
“Man, it’s pretty frustrating when you think about it, just knowing the guys we have in the locker room and going out and putting on a performance like that,” Smith said. “It is unacceptable.
“O did a great job today moving the ball and scoring points. Defense, we can never allow anybody to score us that many points. It’s always going to start with us and it’s always going to end with us. And that’s how we have to be better. And it’s that simple. We can’t let anybody run the ball and throw the ball and do that or score us that many points, period.”
Smith’s insight, or willingness to shed light on it, ended there. Or did he?
He couldn’t really explain how veteran quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott could come out to start games and make the defense look as transparent as a Halloween spook.
“If I knew the answer it wouldn’t have happened,” Smith said. “So I can’t answer that.”
Coaching is likely to come in here, but players never hang coaches out to dry.
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This is a deeper question. They may need better game plans to combat such quarterbacks, or they may not be able to play the scheme like they did with veteran quarterbacks who know what they’re doing because they don’t yet have the athleticism to get it done. Any number of factors play into this.
It appeared that Smith had thoughts on why they were more ineffective to start the Dallas game.
“Short week, you know a lot goes into the week,” Smith said. “That’s part of it, part of this job, you know?
“You have friends, people you hold close to you. And, you know, things happen, but all you can do is grow from it. We all have a job and at the end of the day I’m lucky enough to have my job. Well, I’m getting out of there. But I’m thinking of my husband Rob, much respect to him.”
Apparently, it was a not-so-veiled indication that the loss of Robert Quinn in midweek was taking its toll.
Certainly, it happened with Smith as he broke down and cried over the way a friend and star player was suddenly moved for a draft.
On Sunday, everyone seemed surprised on the defensive end when it was over.
They can count themselves lucky that the trade deadline is coming up on Tuesday so they can still play the final nine games with those players left on the roster.
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