Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is embracing his role as one of the team leaders. As one of the Bears’ most-respected players, Akiem Hicks will have his say on matters.
Akiem Hicks will be one of the faces of the Chicago Bears franchise. People are going look to him for quotes. It is something that the Bears veteran has a knack for.
On Wednesday, Hicks was conducting an interview (courtesy of Yahoo Sports) on SiriusXM NFL Radio. One of the questions that came up was about how his new Bears teammate, rookie Roquan Smith. Hicks was complimentary, but first, he did not hesitate to take a jab.
“Definitely smaller than I thought he would be, but he plays like he’s 6-foot-5. Really explosive. He looks good out there, he’s picking it up real quick.”
The Chicago Bears are hoping that Roquan Smith can continue to pick up the defense quickly. The possibility of Roquan Smith calling the Bears defensive plays exists if he shows the Bears that he can handle himself. So far, so good for the rookie out of Georgia.
Roquan Smith already has made a believer out of his Bears teammate Akiem Hicks. It would not come as a surprise if Smith has made a similar impression across the board.
Chicago Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy gushed (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune) about his rookie linebacker.
“The first day he comes out here and there’s — I’m not going to say hesitance, but it’s new. The words are different. They mean different things to him. So once that calculates in his brain … then he’ll be able to play faster. You could see that the last couple of days that he did that.”
Any acceleration of Roquan Smith’s development only strengthens the Bears’ defense. Smith is slight in stature for a linebacker. However, if the Bears can put in place some schemes where he will get open shots at the ballcarrier, size will be unimportant.
Bears players such as Akiem Hicks must fend off blockers. If the Bears can experience some success, their defense will elevate to elite status.
There are several reasons to believe in the Chicago Bears’ defense.
The main reason is the retention of Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. As a seasoned coach, Fangio has had his share of linebackers built like Roquan Smith.
One of the techniques that Fangio will teach his defense is how to use leverage as their strength. Smith is only 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, but his athleticism will work to his benefit.
Understanding of Vic Fangio’s defense was on full display last season, as the Bears finished No. 10 overall. This was without the Bears having a player voted to the Pro Bowl. There was an argument that Akiem Hicks should have represented the Bears in the annual all-star competition, but he was passed over.
The spotlight will be on the Bears’ Hicks as he looks to sack the opposing quarterback while making holes for Roquan Smith to do the same.