Akiem Hicks missed eight games last year for the Chicago Bears. As soon as he went down to injury, it was evident how crucial he was to the defense. The Bears’ run defense and pass rush took a major hit without Hicks on the field. This impacted Khalil Mack mightily as he was constantly dealing with double and triple teams. No one else on the defense could step up and take advantage of the single blocks. As a result, opposing teams continued to take Mack out of games and force someone else on the Bears defense to make plays.
Akiem Hicks won’t be the only one returning from injury in 2020. Both starting middle linebacker Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith will also be looking to bounce back from missed time in 2019. Chuck Pagano is known to call exotic blitzes and both Smith and Trevathan are fast linebackers who can get to the quarterback.
The defensive players play inspired when the heart of their defense, Akiem Hicks, is on the field with them. Hicks is chomping at the bit to get back on the field after missing so much time in 2019. Hicks is one the best interior pass rushers in the NFL, in 2018 he had 7.5 sacks rushing from the inside. I am willing to bet he just can’t wait to reunite with Mack and cause hell for opposing offenses on the field this season.