Bears Expecting Offensive Line to Improve From Within

CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears celebrates his 58-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter with Chris Williams #74 against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Let's not sugarcoat it - over the last two years, the Bears' offensive line has been anything but an offensive line, particularly in pass-blocking. And over the last three or four weeks, the Bears have made numerous additions to the roster, but the only move for the offensive line has been a contract extension for Edwin Williams.

But if you believe Brad Biggs, all signs are pointing to the Bears relying on the guys already on the roster.

Despite calls from the fan base to invest in linemen, the club has yet to do so almost four weeks into free agency. Most signs point to the Bears looking for help on defense in the early rounds of the NFL draft that begins April 26, although it's impossible to rule out help for the line. But drafting 19th overall, the Bears are unlikely to have a left tackle fall in their laps.

If Carimi's going to stay at right tackle, the Bears are pretty much set there for now. Interior usually don't get drafted that high, and it's entirely possible any that project as a left tackle in the first round are gone.

First, the sacks didn't pile up last season until after Cutler went out with the thumb injury in Week 10. He was sacked 23 times in 10 games, which put the Bears on pace for a manageable number of 37. Cutler was sacked only five times in his last five games.

When Caleb Hanie entered, chaos ensued. He was sacked 19 times in four games before being benched, and Josh McCown was sacked seven times in the season finale against the Vikings in Minnesota.

Cutler's mobility and quick throwing was a big key as far as sack reduction, particularly since he knows what to do with his mobility. Hanie was mobile, but he didn't always know what to do with it, and when pressured would hold on to the ball a seemingly infinite amount of time.

Of course, that's not using that as a reason that the line will be better - ideally, quarterbacks aren't running for their lives. But like cornerbacks shouldn't be counted on to maintain coverage for more than five or six seconds, linemen shouldn't be counted on to maintain blocks forever, particularly with quarterbacks prone to holding onto the ball.

And last... Injuries.

Carimi (knee) and left guard Chris Williams (wrist) are returning from injuries. That will allow Lance Louis, who spent nearly all of 2011 at right tackle, to move back to guard where he is a better fit. There's decent depth on the interior with Chris Spencer and Edwin Williams, who got a modest contract extension late last season.

So what are your hopes for the Bears' line to improve in the coming season, if the personnel remain the same?

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