It's easy to see why Paea chose a game vs. Tampa Bay last season as his best. Just look at the numbers. He finished the Week 12 victory with two sacks, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
"That O-line was not the greatest, but I had 10 quarterback pressures from the nose," Paea said.
Whether that last number was accurate, it certainly felt that way to Paea. He blossomed as a pass-rusher for Chicago last season, recording a career-best six sacks while rushing mostly inside, typically over the center. One of those hits on the quarterback led to an interception.
For Paea, it was a reminder of what he could do -- and how he could take advantage of the focus paid to his linemates (Jared Allen, Willie Young and Jeremiah Ratliff). But Paea credited his work with Grand Master Joe Kim for the big game. Kim now works for the Redskins. It was Kim's focus on footwork and getting his linemen to aim for a different spot on the blocker's arms that Paea said led to his success.
After the game, Paea told reporters that offensive linemen sometimes didn't look at him, fearing the others. And if that's the case, then he knew he couldn't let his teammates down.
"I play with a chip on my shoulder, but at the same time, I can't mess up," he said. "If I mess up with them, they're going to yell at me. So I might as well do my job and do it to the best of my ability."
Also: Paea said his day could have been better.
"I had the two sacks, but I missed about two of them," he said. "That still haunts me."