Joniak's Journal: Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan Forming Dynamic Duo

November 06, 2018 - 6:15 pm
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By Jeff Joniak--

LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (5-3) are preparing to host the Lions (3-5) on Sunday. Here are the notes and observations of the day from Tuesday.

First impression

The Bears defensive coaching staff is pleased but far from content with their unit, which looked fantastic in a 41-9 rout of the Bills on Sunday. The Bears defense played fast and physical with few mental errors, some penalties notwithstanding. Inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith sparkled. They were flying all over the field, collecting a combined 25 tackles. 

Even so, inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires is looking for more from the dynamic duo.

"There were plays out there that were real good, but the consistency thing, it wasn’t there for me," Pires said. 

Teams often scheme to expose opposing linebackers in space against receivers.

"We have got to leverage those guys, and we cannot miss tackles," Pires said. "When they put a wide receiver on us coming from this side or coming from that side, we got to know where our help is and we’ve got to leverage that guy and get him and not allow him to expose us. We cannot let them do that."

On Sunday, there were some crossing routes resulting in decent catch-and-run plays for the Bills that took advantage of the Bears' linebacker. For a linebacker to become elite in Pires' mind, he can't miss tackles in such situations.

"That’s as tough as it gets and every linebacker that I’ve ever coached will say that’s the biggest challenge," Pires said.

Second thought

Trevathan isn't satisfied either. After the win over the Bills, Trevathan talked to Pires about the upcoming challenges. He's also focusing on helping Smith and others on the Bears defense grow.

"Danny’s confidence, his calmness and his toughness, I think, is carrying over not just to Roquan but to everybody on the defense," Pires said.

Smith is on a good path right now, with Pires crediting his mentality.

"He’s correcting himself," Pires said. "That’s the key. He can point things out and register them fast. That’s a sign of progress.  We keep forgetting he’s only played eight games in the NFL, and every week is a new challenge, especially at this position. People are going to try to expose the inside linebackers."

Third degree

After the Bears squandered leads in losses to the Dolphins and Patriots, Trevathan took charge of the defense, urging players to finish practice with their best effort, Pires said.

"He’s carrying the flag, and he’s running out to start off that period and everything else," Pires said. "Guys are going to follow that." 

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and other coaches urged Trevathan to be the leader he is, and Trevathan took it from there. 

"It is a combination of both," Pires said. "I think we as coaches, Vic and everybody, are saying hey, ‘This is your time. There are good guys around you. Bring them with you.’ And he likes that."

Pires believes Smith has similar leadership traits in him.

"As a young guy, he has that makeup," Pires said. "He does. Being around Danny and the older guys ... that’s going to help him get there."

Fourth-and-short

It's a signature year for the Bears' annual coat drive. Led by Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin, the endeavor that's backed by Jewel-Osco is entering its 30th year. You can donate new and gently used coats at 187 stores throughout Chicagoland now through Feb. 1. More than 21,000 coats benefited the Salvation Army last year.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.​