Yesterday, we introduced Neil Hornsby to the website, and got a good look at who Pro Football Focus is and what they do (click for how they grade). Today we'll take a quick look at what Neil had to say about possibly the weakest link for the Chicago Bears: The offensive line. Again, keep in mind this interview was done December 19th, or week 14 of the season.
Dane: Let's talk about one of the hottest topics regarding the Chicago Bears over the last couple of years: The offensive line. For two years, every single lineman has gotten blasted by the fanbase for being so terrible (Olin Kreutz is washed up, Chris Williams is a bust, Frank Omiyale is a turnstile... I could go on and on). Based on your grading system, is there anything worth celebrating when it comes to our OL, or is it really just as bad as it seems? Is there anyone at all who we should feel comfortable with?
Neil: The bad news… I think your fans are 100% right… there is nothing to be even remotely happy about from the starting five other than Kreutz’s pass blocking (which is average). This is the worst O-Line we’ve ever graded…. By far. The good news…… we liked Edwin Williams at RG before he was injured is about it - sorry :(
Lester will have a more detailed look at the OL positions, including PFF's grades, during his Roster Turnover Series, but I do want to throw out a few nuggets of info from PFF regarding our OL.
Neil mentioned Kreutz, and overall he was the best lineman per the grades. Kreutz did struggle at times in both pass blocking and run blocking (especially the Eagles game), but he was consistently unhorrible for most of the year.
Overall, the pass blocking and run blocking was horrible across the board for our OL, for the entire season, with the following two exceptions:
J'Marcus Webb's run blocking saw a huge increase starting in week 10 against Minnesota, and Chris Williams' pass blocking improved once he was switched over to LG.
Other than those two things, nothing at all could be said about improvements or good grades. Both OTs were extremely horribly graded, and the Guards weren't much better. For those of you who think we should focus on anything other than OL in the Draft, take note of this comment from Neil: The Bears should take offensive linemen with every draft pick in the first two days of the Draft.
Question for you all: Of the offensive linemen we have on the team, how many of them do you want to see starting next season?