When I went back and re-watched the Chicago Bears against the Washington Redskins, the offensive line play wasn't as bad as I originally thought. The grades the starting five ended up receiving we're much better than the last time I graded the them. Back in October I graded them against the Detroit Lions and they came out with probably the worst collective grade that I've ever given out.
The reason I was expecting this weeks grades to be so poor, was the mistakes made were biggies. Plus there were a few instances where the o-line did an alright job, but the tight ends and wide outs missed blocks. Football is the ultimate team sport and one guy not doing his job could be the difference between a long gain and a negative play.
I use a simple plus/minus grading system, so if you do your job, you get a +, but if you don't it's a - for you.
Left Guard Matt Slauson +58/-1 (98%)
Every time I grade Slauson, I'm reminded what a solid pro he is. He's not a hulking road grader, he's not a nimble athlete, but he usually finds a way to get it done. The fact that he can step in and play center in a pinch makes him a very valuable part of the Bears o-line.
Left Tackle Charles Leno Jr. +55/-4 (93%)
The last time I graded Leno, I wasn't so sure he was ready to be the left tackle moving forward. But now after watching his play for a few weeks, I think he deserves a shot at keeping the job this offseason. Leno seems to be comfortable and confident in his play. His technique gets a bip sloppy on occasion, but I think he'll improve as he grows as a player.
On the 5th play of the Bears second drive, Leno and Slauson expertly maneuvered a switch when the Redskins ran a End/Tackle stunt. The defenders both engaged with Chicago's left side, but then the defensive end darted inside, with the defensive tackle looping over to the edge. Leno passed him man off to Slauson who accepted him and allowed the DT to go away. Had Leno chased his man to the inside, the DT would have had the leverage to take the edge.
Right Tackle Kyle Long +54/-6 (90%)
Long gave up the sack early in the game, and he seemed to struggle when his defender was dipping back inside his pass protection. When he pulls he has to maintain control so when he gets to man, he's in position to block. He had a penalty in the game too.
Right Guard Patrick Omameh +53/-6 (90%)
Omameh was't bad, but I think the Bears need an upgrade at the position. Two of the first three plays the Bears ran, Omameh picked up a minus. Keep in mind this is only his 2nd full year on an NFL roster, and at 25 years old, there may be better football ahead for him. He tends to get lost on occasion working to the second level, but that's more technique than confusion.
Center Hroniss Grasu +51/-9 (85%)
Grasu needs to add some strength, I think everyone understands that, but he does have the traits necessary to be the long term answer at center for the Bears. The Bears like to pull him on outside runs, and like Long, he has to maintain control when on the move. He had 1 bad snap and he also had a false start penalty.
Tomorrow I'll breakdown the three sacks the Bears allowed in Sackwatch.
Overall there were a few plays where I gave the benefit of the doubt to the Bears player during the game. Plays where he didn't necessarily get any movement off the line, but he had good body position and a mistake elsewhere was what led to the bad play.
I think Grasu, Omameh and Leno all need to get stronger. Long has flashes of dominance, but his technique is still sloppy on occasion.