The overall pass protection is still leaps and bounds above the last few seasons for the Chicago Bears. Head coach Marc Trestman, offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, and the players are doing a good job with the new scheme so far. Hopefully new quarterback Josh McCown can manage the game, and be smart with the football.
Last year the Bears allowed six sacks in their seventh game against the Carolina Panthers, and normally I'd say allowing just two sacks is adequate, but those two sacks really hurt the Chicago Bears.
Let's see where we stand so far...
Sackwatch after 7 games
2010 - 31 (Martzfense)
2011 - 21 (Martzfense)
2012 -25 (Mike Tice O)
2013 -11 (TCO)
I hoped the sacks would be down this season, but I didn't think it would be this good, this fast. Only three teams have allowed fewer than the Bears 11 sacks, and one of those teams only played six games.
The pass pro hasn't been perfect, they are still allowing quite a few hurries, but Chicago QBs haven't had this many clean pockets to throw from in a very long time. In last week's Sackwatch I explained why the hurries are still high, and why that's not a reason to panic.
One thing to keep in mind these next few weeks, is with a new QB under center, the timing may be a bit off. McCown is a veteran, but he still hasn't had the reps, so we may see an increase in sacks.
Sack 10 - Second Quarter 10:09 Chris Baker
The Bears were in a shotgun formation on a 1st and 10, and their pass protection was overwhelmed by the Washington blitz. Before the snap, Washington was showing seven on the line of scrimmage, with an overload to the Bears' left side. That is why running back Matt Forte moved up and to the left on the snap.
The Redskins dropped one defender off, but still brought six. Theoretically, the Bears had six to block six, but the stunt back through the B gap on Chicago's right side caught the Bears off guard. Chicago right tackle Jordan Mills and right guard Kyle Long were each engaged with a defender, leaving a hole for Chris Baker to exploit. With Forte stepping up to help on the left, there was no one to pick up the stunt.
Mills allowed outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (#91) to get around the edge, and that coupled with the pressure from Baker, gave Cutler no where to go. This is just one of those times where the defense makes a play. I'm putting this in the sacks Happen category.
In a perfect world, you'd like to see center Roberto Garza follow Baker back underneath the protection, or to have he and Long pass off the blocks, but Garza is caught up in the bodies. The Redskins also blitzed the A gap between Garza and Long to further clutter up the line of scrimmage. Anyone that tries to pin this sack on any one Bear, has never played offensive line.
And if by chance you didn't know, this was the play that Jay Cutler tore his groin on. Even watching the GIF below, it's hard to tell when the injury occurred.
Sack 11 - Fourth Quarter :15 Barry Cofield / Ryan Kerrigan
With the seconds ticking down in the game, and no timeouts left, taking a sack is the last thing you want to do. Josh McCown knows this, and since this play came immediately after the Bears spent their final time out, I'm sure McCowm was reminded this by his coach.
The Bears came out in a shotgun, and the Redskins only brought four against the Bears six. The pass protection should have held. There is a lot of fail happening on this play, and for the first time in the four year history of Sackwatch I'm splitting the blame four ways.
A quarter of the blame falls on McCown. He felt the pressure, and he only had to keep moving to his left before throwing the ball away. Get outside the pocket, throw it in the dirt, and line up for one final Hail Mary pass.
A quarter of the blame goes to Mills. He allowed Kerrigan to get the edge again. I've talked about Mills using a good hand punch all season long, but this was not one of those times. Mills "catches" Kerrigan, instead of fending him off by extending his arms. If a tackle catches an edge rusher with such a deep drop called by his QB, all the defender has to do is keep moving and he'll eventually run through the block. That's exactly what Kerrigan did.
Speaking of poor hands, that's also what happens with Long on this play. The first contact made by Long is actually with his face-mask, then he shoots his hands up. He does a better job of extending his arms than Mills did, but then Long allows Cofield to dip back inside of him. A quarter of the blame falls on Long.
Long may have been expecting help from his center, but Garza gets there late. So 1/4 blame goes to him too. Garza has to get his head in front of Cofield on his block. Forte tries to help out late, but the damage was done, and Cofield had a path to the QB. You may think, 'Why didn't someone cut him on the play?', but it's illegal to cut a defender while he's engaged with another blocker.
Here's the game ending sack in GIF form.
What are your thoughts on the pass protection moving forward without Jay Cutler?
Do you expect Marc Trestman to keep it business as usual with Josh McCown under center?
Sackwatch Totals after 7 Games
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- WCG Pick 'Em: Week 8
- The Bears Den: October 24, 2013 - Week 8 news and notes
- How is the poor performance of the Chicago Bears defense Mel Tucker's fault?
- The Bears Den: October 23, 2013 - Week 8 news and notes
- Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond
- NFL Power Rankings: Chicago Bears dropping down again
- Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins report card