Less than a week after Trevis Gipson registered two sacks in a loss to the Packers, Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams lauded the third-year defensive end for his positive attitude and work ethic.
"That goes a long way," Williams said Thursday. "I never take the positive attitude and the work ethic for granted, and those are two things that give him a chance to be a really good player."
Gipson has picked up early this season where he left off last year, when he blossomed into a consistent playmaker on defense, registering 39 tackles, 7.0 sacks, seven tackles-for-loss and five forced fumbles. He especially excelled down the stretch, recording four sacks in the final five games and three forced fumbles in the last two contests.
Despite the increased production, Gipson remains motivated to show that he's better than advertised. It's the same chip on his shoulder that formed when he dropped into the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
"It's just really being underrated, being overlooked," Gipson said Thursday. "People underestimate me, not knowing if I can compete. So I'm still trying to prove my worth to this league and my organization and even myself, knowing that I can dominate this game."
Gipson demonstrated that last Sunday night in Green Bay, compiling two sacks of Aaron Rodgers and pressuring the future Hall of Famer into an incompletion with another strong pass rush.
It's not a coincidence that Gipson looks comfortable in the Bears' new 4-3 defense; it's very similar to the system he played in at Tulsa. One thing he likes most about it is that he can focus on rushing the quarterback and not have to drop into pass coverage like he did when he played outside linebacker in the Bears' 3-4 scheme the past two seasons.
"I like it," Gipson said. "It just allows me to rush, going forward instead of backward and just fighting the man in front of me and not having to worry about little receivers or slot backs. That helps a lot."
The Bears returned to the practice fields at Halas Hall Wednesday afternoon to continue preparing for Sunday's matchup with the Houston Texans at Soldier Field.
Gipson was a two-year starting defensive end at Tulsa, where he earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors as a senior in 2019 after setting career highs with 49 tackles, eight sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss.
His transition to outside linebacker as a Bears rookie initially wasn't easy, primarily because all offseason workouts and preseason games were cancelled due to COVID-19. But after a full year and offseason under his belt, the 6-4, 263-pounder was able to take advantage of expanded playing time in 2021 after perennial Pro Bowler Khalil Mack was shut down for the season in late October due to a foot injury.
Since entering the NFL, the aspect of Gipson's game he feels he's improved the most is his pass rush.
"Our coach teaches us a lot of different moves and counters and how to play off each other, so I feel like that's a part of my game that's taken a step," Gipson said.
“I’m still trying to prove my worth to this league and my organization and even myself, knowing that I can dominate this game.” Bears DE Trevis Gipson
He continues to hone his pass rush moves in practice, experimenting to discover "what I can use to my advantage and my best abilities and having counters off of those moves." Gipson also develops cohesiveness with his fellow defensive linemen, "playing off of each other and creating that familiarity."
"The more reps that we do with one another and working on games and feeling each other out, the more comfortable we get as a unit," he said.
Gipson has made a positive first impression on the Bears' new coaches.
"He's long," Williams said. "And he's bought into our philosophy of how hard we play and how to run to the ball, and he's been productive, so that's always a plus."