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ATM: Bears Picked the Right Linebacker

| March 17th, 2020

It was a simple play.

On third-and-four, Dallas had running back Jamize Olawale sneak out of the backfield. He was open for a first down, very possibly a touchdown. Dak Prescott threw it but Olawale never looked. The play almost worked because Nick Kwiatkoski was late in coverage.

Andy Reid saw that play.

The Chiefs offensive guru ran something very similar two weeks later. On third-and-eight he swung a pass out to Damien Williams. Kwiatkoski late again. Touchdown.

As well as Kwiatkoski played last year, he was always going to have a fatal flaw and good offensive coaches were always going to attack him. That’s why Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears made the right call in keeping Danny Trevathan instead.

Kwiatkoski deserves credit for how well he played last year. He was fourth in the league in tackles, added three sacks and an interception. When he was on the field, he made plays.

But he was the backup for a reason.

While Roquan Smith didn’t have the kind start the Bears would’ve liked, he was great down the stretch. Trevathan has always been a stud and the leader of what has been a Super Bowl-caliber defense.

Before a freak elbow injury ended his season, Trevethan was playing at a high level. He was fifth on the team with 70 tackles, but his efficiency was more impressive as he only missed 4.1 percent of his attempts — whereas Kwiatkoski finished at 11.6 percent and Smith was at 3.8.

Trevathan is a master at making sure the Bears are in the right defense after the opponent audibles and is a sneaky good blitzer.

Kwiatkoski’s coverage generally wasn’t a huge problem for the Bears last year, but who can forget seeing a one-legged Aaron Rodgers pick on him time-after-time in the 2018 season opener?

While an argument can be made that the Bears should’ve invested in other positions — especially since Kevin Pierre-Louis also looked like a stud last year — if they were going to pick a linebacker to resign, they picked the right one.

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