Chicago Bears linebacker Trevis Gipson took the lessons he learned from two top-notch pass rushers to heart and had a very good season. As he continues to learn, he has a bright future in Chicago.
For the Chicago Bears, this has been a horrible season. They will finish the season with a losing record. Dealing with injuries, COVID, and poor play were too much to handle.
There was some good in the season, however. Rookies Khalil Herbert and Larry Borom did a good job when they stepped in for injured veterans. We also saw other rookies like Teven Jenkins and Thomas Graham show flashes and give fans hope. Better yet, the fans are still very hopeful for Justin Fields. They feel that the team finally found their franchise quarterback.
Who could not smile when linebacker Robert Quinn recorded his 18th sack and broke the franchise record for sacks in a season (Richard Dent had the old record of 17.5). After a poor 2020 season, he returned to form and had a remarkable season, despite not having his running mate Khalil Mack for most of the season.
One other positive was the play of Trevis Gipson. The second-year linebacker wasn’t expected to play a whole lot, just in certain situations. However, with Mack going down with a foot injury that shut down his season early, Gipson had to step up.
He did just that. After only playing 16 percent of the snaps in his rookie season, Gipson has played on 48 percent of the snaps this season. As a result, he recorded 35 tackles (6 for loss), 6.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
In last week’s game, one that focused so much on Quinn being on the brink of history, Gipson was the one who was the player of the game on defense. He had a strip-sack on New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon on the first play of the game. Later on, he registered another strip-sack. He also had three tackles. What made the game even more impressive was that Gipson played on only 20 snaps, 36 percent of the total plays.
Trevis Gipson learned from two great Chicago Bears players
Gipson has an advantage that not many rookies have to start their careers — playing behind not one but two great players. Last season, he got to sit back and watch how two of the best pass rushers prepare and he got to bend their ears by asking questions.
He soaked it all up like a sponge and took the lessons to heart.
"You know, it’s a great opportunity and a great blessing to be able to play behind those two guys, two gold jackets soon to be. I couldn’t ask for anything else, a lot of guys, ‘I want to play. I want to do this, this, and that.’ But I’m literally behind two pass rushers that probably are top five in the league. There’s technique, film. I get to watch their steps every day, from sun-up to sun-down. I’m in a great position and I honestly couldn’t be more appreciative."
Now Gipson gives the Bears a strong pass rush. With one game left in the season, Chicago ranks third in the league in sacks with 46. Of that total, 30 of them came from the trio of Mack, Quinn, and Gipson. With a healthy Mack playing a full season, even if Quinn doesn’t have another great season like 2021, the trio can surpass that total in 2022.
Eventually, Gipson will replace one of the two legends. When next season starts, Mack will be 31 and Quinn 32. How soon it happens is not yet known. There is an outside chance that it happens in 2022.
Yes, Quinn had a great 2021, but he is on the wrong side of 30 and the Bears have an out on his contract this offseason. If the Bears cut or trade him with a post-June 1 designation the team saves $12.9 million in cap space. That is a big amount that really helps move the rebuild along quickly.
On the other hand, the Bears could decide to restructure Quinn’s deal to increase cap space. Quinn came to Chicago to wreak havoc with Mack. That hasn’t happened yet in two seasons. If Quinn returns, it could happen. For his part, Gipson can only get better and he’ll be ready to step up and take over as a starter whenever he’s needed. In the meantime, opposing quarterbacks should be on high alert when they face the Chicago Bears.