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Navigating Bear Markets: Setting Expectations for Robert Quinn

After a disappointing first season in Chicago, what kind of production should Bears fans expect from Robert Quinn in 2021?
Robert Quinn Bears

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Many Bears fans, myself included, were disappointed with the production from Robert Quinn in 2020. I decided it could be useful to look at some factors that may have played into Quinn’s numbers in 2020, and how those factors could set expectations for Quinn's 2021 season.

Last week, I looked into what factors could affect some of the league's best pass rushers. This week, I am taking a closer look at Robert Quinn under the same microscope.

Explaining the Process

First, I gathered the pass rush snaps, pressures, and opponent left tackle pressures allowed for every game Quinn has played in from 2015-2020.

Next, I compared Quinn’s pressure rate in those games to the average pressure rate that the opposing offensive tackles allowed that season. This predominantly came down to left tackles, because Quinn has primarily lined up against the left tackle. He has primarily played REO (Right End – Outside Alignment), which is lined up outside of the left tackle.

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I then generated “Expected Pressure %”. This is the pressure rate allowed by each tackle, weighted for the number of snaps that Quinn lined up on that side. You can think of this as the pressure percentage an average player expects to generate against the offensive tackles that Quinn faced each year.

Subtracting the “Expected Pressure %” from Quinn’s actual Pressure % gets us to the “Pressure % Over Expectation”.


Below, you will see the year-by-year results for Quinn from 2015 through 2020. This sets a baseline for what we should expect from Quinn, as far as pressures go.

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  • In 2020, Quinn faced a tough schedule of left tackles, with the lowest expected pressure rate Quinn has seen in this time period.
  • Over the six-year period, Quinn averaged a pressure rate of 10.2% and a pressure rate over expectation of 3.9%. An average player would be expected to generate 129 pressures over the same amount of snaps. Quinn generated 209 pressures.
  • I would need to do further research, but these results point to pressures being down across the NFL in 2020. This is likely caused by the large drop-off in holding calls that occurred in 2020.

Strength of Opponent

The below chart shows Quinn’s results in a different way. I have organized the table to show how Quinn has produced against opponents who have struggled to prevent pressures (>10%) versus opponents who have excelled at preventing pressures (<4%) and multiple ranges in between.

  • Quinn and the Bears did not face a left tackle allowing a pressure rate of 10% or higher all season. This was the only season over the past six years during which Quinn has not faced at least one low-quality opponent.
  • He faced a high-quality left tackle in ten of his 14 games played. The closest he came in the past six years was 2017, when he saw eight high-quality left tackles.
  • Historically, Quinn has fared well against the top left tackles in the league, but he struggled more than usual in this area in 2020.

Best Games

Below, we take a look at the ten best games for Quinn over this six-year stretch, indicated by Pressure % Over Expectation.

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  • Quinn had the best game of this stretch against Carolina in 2020, with a pressure every four pass-rush snaps. This occurred while Quinn faced Russell Okung, who allowed a pressure rate of 5.2% in 2020.
  • He also excelled against Reiff (MIN) and Decker (DET) in 2020. He has done well against both of these tackles historically.
  • In five games against Reiff, Quinn has generated 16 pressures across 127 pass-rush snaps. This generates a pressure % of 12.6%.
  • Across three games against Decker, Quinn has generated 13 pressures on 118 pass-rush snaps. This generates a pressure % of 15.9%.

2021 Expectations

Here, we are trying to project what our expectations should be for Robert Quinn in 2021. We are taking a look at the starting left tackle for each opponent on the 2021 schedule. I have based projections off of how Quinn has historically produced against that opponent.

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  • Quinn has previously played against nine of the 14 left tackles he is slated to face off against in 2021: Whitworth, Decker, Miller, Bakhtiari, Smith, T. Williams, Humphries, D. Brown, and Thomas. For these opponents, “Projected Pressure %” is based on Quinn’s historical figures with a 10% discount.
  • Quinn has never played against five of the 14 left tackles he is scheduled to see in 2021. These are the names highlited in yellow above: J. Williams, Wills, Okorafor, Stanley, and Darrisaw. For the non-rookie left tackles, the “Projected Pressure %” is based on each left tackle’s pressure rate allowed in 2020 plus 4.1%, as Quinn produced pressures at 4.1% above expectation in 2020.
  • For Darrisaw, who is a rookie, I took the average pressure rate allowed of 2020 first-round rookies (Wirfs, Wills, Becton, Thomas, and Jackson). I then added 4.1%, since Quinn produced pressures at 4.1% above expectation in 2020.
  • Based on this exercise, a fair expectation for Robert Quinn in 2021 would be 38 pressures, assuming he averages 23 pass rush snaps per game as he did in 2020. This generates a pressure rate of 9.8%, exceeding his 2020 pressure rate of 8.8%. This figure is on track with his figures over the past six years, which show a pressure rate of 10.2%.