Even before this past April's historic quarterback trade, the Chicago Bears offensive line was a major concern. This became even more important after the acquisition of Jay Cutler, and this season we have seen three new starters on the OL: Frank Omiyale, Chris Williams, and Orlando Pace.
One of the many attributes of our young QB is his ability to avoid the sack, and extend the play with his legs. We have seen his scrambling ability, as well as his talent for delivering strong throws while off balance and on the run. But, Cutler has also been sacked eight times in his first four games for Chicago, and that is not a pace we can afford to keep up.
As the season continues to unfold, we can expect our offensive line to improve with more snaps under their belts, but don't expect the pressure to go away.
So far in 2009, 3 sacks have come from the right defensive ends, 2 from safety blitzes, 2 from linebackers, and 1 from the left defensive end. Our starting running back Matt Forte is an excellent blocker, but we can't expect him to constantly pick up the slack from defensive line pressure.
Looking at the next two games on the schedule, Atlanta and Cincinnati, 12 sacks have come from the right defensive ends. For Atlanta, John Abraham and Kroy Biermann have each registered 2 sacks apiece, while Antwan Odom of Cincy has registered 8.
You can bet that Ron Turner and his crew are taking a hard look at Orlando Pace and the rest of the offensive line, and how to best adjust for the upcoming pressure Jay Cuter will face. Until our running game starts to pick up the slack, Cutler will continue to have to throw the ball, and right now he is getting sacked an average of once every 16 drop backs. And that is with his ability to avoid the rush.
We have to be able to protect our (future) investment better than we have so far...