Chicago Bears recognize how hard Roquan Smith trade hit them
Bears coach Matt Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles met with the 13-player leadership council after they said good-bye to linebacker Roquan Smith.
More discussion was needed.
” I addressed it with the group today,” Eberflus stated. “You all need to be on the same page. It is impossible to pretend that nothing has happened. This is not possible.
” It has to be communicated. It’s important to discuss it. You had to look at each other in the eyes. You have to be honest with each other and share a vision of where you are going and why you are doing it.
Although they aren’t sure where they’re going as teams, they won’t be without any player. Even players from the offensive side have described them as the team’s heart.
Losing Robert Quinn was hard when they went to Dallas, but losing Roquan Smith and facing Miami Sunday on Soldier Field could prove even more difficult.
“It’s tough,” tight end Cole Kmet stated. “You know Roquan is the lifeblood of our locker room. It’s hard to lose a guy like this.
Everyone in the locker room felt like they had lost a friend or family member when Poles made the trade to get the second- and fifth-round draft picks.
” I couldn’t believe what it was. I was stunned. Safety Eddie Jackson stated, “I was shocked.”
Jackson was predictable in his immediate reaction to the shock.
” You think, “What are we playing for?”
“The thoughts go through your head like, “What are we playing for?”
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“We’re trying to make it to a Super Bowl, get to the playoffs, things like that.”
Jackson said that he understood Smith’s desire to be compensated and not lose him in free agency.
“I’m not upstairs, like I said. He said, “I get it.” “I get it. It just hits you differently.
Losing a friend or take-charge leader can be more devastating than any other loss.
Justin Jones, defensive tackle, stated that
“Roquan was a high-energy man. He comes in every day with a smile on the face. Roquan never said anything negative about anyone, no matter what his situation was.
” I have never heard Roquan speak down on anyone, no matter what was being said about him. Roquan has never come in with a bad mood. This speaks volumes about the man he is. “
Jones saw this even during the training camp hold-in.
” Jones stated that although he didn’t practice during training camp, he was still present in meetings, still motivating and coaching men up as a vet would. According to what I hear, that is not common in the league.
They insist that the team is not defeated emotionally or mentally, regardless of how they feel about Smith.
“Nobody on our team has that mindset,” said quarterback Justin Fields. “Everyone on the team, coaches included, wants to win games. We want to win every game.
“Nobody’s waving a white flag. Every day we’re trying to be better and improving each day. The defensive side of the ball will need to be more aggressive. Leadership will have to step up. It was something we all discussed.
The proof, or lack thereof, could be evident at Soldier Field on Sunday.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.