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Chicago Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn is named NFC defensive player of the month: ‘His motor goes 1,000 miles per hour every play’

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As he continues his impressive comeback season, Chicago Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn on Thursday was named NFC defensive player of the month for November.

In three November games, Quinn had 5½ sacks for minus-33 yards, 14 tackles, five tackles for a loss, six quarterback hits and a forced fumble. That included a 3½-sack performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11.

Quinn, 31, leads the Bears with 11 sacks and also has 36 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 13 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles.

Quinn’s output comes a season after he recorded a career-low two sacks in his first year with the Bears. He credited being in a good mental space for helping him bounce back after a difficult year joining a new team amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From last year, I’m just trying to redeem myself,” Quinn said. “That was a disappointing season. And this year, I just try to not let the unnecessary weight or negativity weigh me down or keep it off my plate, so this year I’m just able to have fun. I’ve been able to bond with the guys more, so it turned into a brotherhood. I think just that alone allows you to play more comfortable and fast and make plays.”

Quinn’s production has been important as outside linebacker Khalil Mack struggled with a left foot injury that ended his season.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai credited Quinn for continuing to accept new challenges from his coaches, including outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey, something Desai noted not all veteran players want to do.

“A lot of times based on the personality of guys they can get stuck in some ways, but he’s excelling in everything that we’re trying to teach him,” Desai said. “And he’s taken it upon himself to keep improving at different techniques that sometimes he may not have done earlier in his career. And it’s showing up on game day in a lot of different ways. Obviously the first thing everybody is seeing is sack production, but his run play for us has been really good, and that’s a credit to him that he’s still engaged in that fashion.”

Quinn’s best season came in 2013 with the St. Louis Rams, when he had 19 sacks, 34 quarterback hits and 23 tackles for a loss. His 11 sacks this season rank third behind that year and 11½ in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys.

Quinn wouldn’t reveal what his statistical goals were for this season but said he wants to focus on consistency.

“It’s great to be recognized for one month. If I go cold the rest of the year, I’m sure y’all will forget about this month,” he said. “Again, it’s all about consistency. See if I can do it this weekend and the following weekend and, again, that’s how I just keep football — simple. Keep life simple, stay focused on what’s in front of you, don’t try to look too far into the future because, well, then you forget to live in the present.”

Quinn is the first Bears player to be named defensive player of the month since Eddie Jackson in November 2018.

Bears coaches expressed hope in the offseason that 2020 wasn’t indicative of what Quinn can still do, and that faith is paying off.

“Last year, for everybody, was a little bit off, a little bit difficult with the COVID stuff,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “So I think everybody had their own issues that we all went through. For Robert … to see him bounce back and be whatever he is, top five in sacks right now, what I instantly put it to is this guy in the offseason, he cared immensely about wanting to get better and how could we do that, creating a plan in the offseason and then him following it.

“From the very first day he got here in the offseason, in training camp and into the preseason and regular season, his motor goes 1,000 miles per hour every play.”

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