The Bears like the growth they’re seeing now from edge rusher Trevis Gipson and it’s a good thing.
He’s No. 3 now among players on the depth chart at this position.
Third edge rusher Jeremiah Attaochu is out for the season, according to a report by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Bears coach Matt Nagy had announced Attaochu’s injury after Sunday’s win over the Raiders and on Monday did not update the severity of the injury.
Attaochu, a former Denver Broncos edge rusher acquired in free agency, had been on the field defensively for play counts of between 20 and 31 in the five games, and he had two tackles with one quarterback hit. He had only minor role on special teams with 12 plays over the last four games.
Attaochu’s value was that he could provide rest for Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn at times and had experience.
Mack played 79% of the defensive plays on Sunday, his highest number since the opener. He did it despite foot and rib injuries.
Quinn has dealt with a back issue but played through it as Mack has with his injuries. Mack has five sacks and Quinn 4 1/2.
Now in his second year, Gipson made his first sack of the season against Detroit and then added another on Sunday. He has seven tackles, two quarterback hits and also seven pressures. He has also tipped a pass and forced a fumble.
So, Gipson has shown he is capable of being the third pass rusher. What isn’t clear is if he’s able to perform the task of short pass coverage as Bears edge players are asked to do from time to time.
Things didn’t start so well for Gipson this season. He played only seven downs against the Rams in the opener and then was listed inactive for the Week 2 win over Cincinnati.
“So when Trev was inactive (against the Bengals), we sat down and talked a little bit and it was good motivation, I think, for him,” outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey said. “Not that he needs extra, but you use any little bit you can get to try to stretch and get as much out of a guy as you can.
“Trev’s been preparing, going back to last training camp. So I think for him, you know, it was good to see. You hear people use the term chopping wood—he continues to chop wood, continues to work. He puts in a lot of extra work behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see.”
The Bears decided only to keep four edge rushers when they cut veteran James Vaughters at the end of training camp but they did have a couple undrafted rookies on the practice squad to play behind Gipson.
Strangely, they seem to have activated the one with less experience against higher level competition, and who seems a bit out of position.
When he reported the serious nature of the injury to Attaochu, Pelissero also reported they have activated Sam Kamara, a 6-2, 288-pounder from Stony Brook who was actually more of a classic defensive end, down lineman or even a defensive tackle type in college.
Kamara moved around up and down the line, but was an excellent college pass rusher. He had a preseason sack and three quarterback hits, as well as five tackles
They also have undrafted Charles Snowden from Virginia. The 6-foot-7, 245-pounder had six preseason tackles and tied for team preseason highs of two sacks and two tackles for loss. He had a team-high four quarterback hits.
For now, though, it would appear they’re more confident in Kamara’s ability to be a fourth edge.
There is another option at the position left to them and that’s moving Christian Jones to the edge rusher spot at times.
Jones was an outside linebacker in college, then played there a little in his first stint with the Bears before moving to inside linebacker for good. He returned to the Bears from the Detroit Lions this offseason as a free agent. He has been on the field for only 14 defensive snaps as a fourth or fifth inside linebacker.