Roquan Smith. The Case For.
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Normally this would come out first in a podcast. And it will eventually. Normally this podcast is about giving you the BearReaction. What the initial off the cuff thoughts are after the game ends. In the offseason, it’s good to wait to react. Case in point, my rush to judgement regarding Roquan Smith. When I first caught wind of a holdout, my initial response was to Roquan on Twitter, “get on the damn field!” That was selfish me speaking. That was also years of mental abuse suffered by this team for decades of subpar production with an occasional Super Bowl loss sprinkled in the middle. Then as time passed on, more information came to light. The holdout was not about money. Well not directly. It was ensuring Roquan was paid for doing something he was drafted for. Hitting the opponent. Ok, I know you are saying that is not the real reason. It surrounds a new rule on “targeting” with the helmet. Something that based on 40,000 plays last year, three would have resulted in ejections. Remember that. It will be repeated again. In short, Roquan wants to get paid should he be one of those ejected under this rule in the upcoming season. Based on history, a 0.000075% chance of occurring. As word crept out, the reactions like many other issues in life, landed fans on opposite sides of the 50-yard line. One group saying the Bears stand firm. A team should not be obligated to pay someone who is not on the field that breaks a rule. The other side not trusting a rule that is subjectively interpreted and recent news that three other players (Darnold, Gurley and Barkley) got the same ask, even though they are on the offensive side of the ball. And as the Chicago Bears appear to stand firm, so do fans in their argument for or against. Again, do you expect anything less? I mean come on. When was the last time Bears fans agreed on anything 100%? Now I am not going to use this opine to get into the dangers of the game, how do we address concussions or any of the other myriad reasons that really are not for this conversation. If you are interested in that, you can find a meetup group down the hall to the right that gathers every Thursday night at 6pm local time. What I will offer is some crack research. Keyword. Crack. So take it worth a grain of salt. There are no stats that I can find but was curious how many times was Smith ejected from a game for targeting. I did a search on google for the years Smith played at UGA. I could not find anything. I went to the holy grail of information. Bears Facebook groups. No mention or concern of his style of play other than some concerned with his size. We look at what someone does at the combine. We look at a players film. We look at their character off the field. We look at their drug tests. All those are used to project what a player might do and a team gambles on that with where they pick them. (for the record, Joey Bosa was ejected for targeting and in a pretty big game) We talk about current NFL players like Suh and Burfict. Three other players have asked for and gotten the request. I am going to go with the thought already suggested that these are offensive players and they don’t hit like a defensive player would so I am going to assume if I did the same research, I would find neither Gurley, Barkley or Darnold were ejected for targeting in their college career. So if the idea is that teams take a gamble on a player, and Smith’s track record is clean in this department, what is the issue? Once again, combined with the knowledge that out of 40,000 plays in the NFL last season, three would have resulted in an ejection under the new rule. That is 0.000075%. In other areas of life, those are good odds for something bad to happen. So what leg does anyone opposed to what Smith or the Bears truly have to stand on? A player with no history of being ejected, passes the eyeball test, has the film, the physical gifts, simply asking what others have asked. Yet because of the position he plays and what three people did last year, the Bears need to set an example? The Chicago Bears are ready to gamble on everything else but something that we can find no evidence that Smith’s style of play warrants not pushing all the chips in on a #8 pick. You’ve got pocket aces in your hand Ryan Pace. Make the call.
Photo credit to Chicago Tribune
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