You had to know this was coming right?
Making offensive line changes the week of your first game is never a good thing, but moving a guard to tackle after only a handful practices was taking it a whole other level. Have I mentioned the tackle was going to be matched up with a future Hall Of Famer?
For more on Kyle Long's debut as a tackle you can click here, Grading the new right side of the Chicago Bears offensive line, where I grade not only Long's day against the Green Bay Packers, but right guard Vladimir Ducasse's too.
But as for why you're all here...
Sack 1 - First Quarter 10:15 B.J. Raji and Julius Peppers
My first thought after seeing this play live was that right tackle Long and right guard Ducasse both blew it. After going back over the tape, I'm not so sure. Check out the GIF below.
Ducasse anchors fairly good against the big 340 pound Raji. He throws his hands aggressively, he moves his feet, In fact, he allows the least amount of penetration among Chicago's five offensive linemen. He stayed between where his quarterback should be and his man, but Jay Cutler ran himself into the sack.
So Jay takes on some of the responsibility for this sack.
I really didn't want to give Long any of the blame on this one, but I tried putting myself in the mind of both Long and Bears' o-line coach Dave Magazu. I'll bet both of them would have been upset with Peppers being allowed to get back under Long's pass protection. Long kind of eases up after initially stonewalling Peppers, but had he mirrored Pep back to his left, he could have bought his QB a split second more.
Is it ticky-tack, yes, but you just know Long is watching this play and making a mental note to stay with his man until the whistle blows.
Take a quick peek at left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He was beat pretty quick because he didn't get his hands up faster and he didn't move his feet. Lucky for him he was able to get a push on his guy to take him past the pocket, but Cutler could have been aware that his left tackle was beat.
I want to quickly address Cutler not throwing the ball to Martellus Bennett in the left flat. Cutler looks that way first, but then he tries to work something over the middle. Pre-snap, Cutler should have read that the Pack had two defensive backs up, with a safety back against his three receivers. At the snap the slot corner fades back into a zone, the outside corner sort of stays around the first down marker between the two widest Bears, and the safety stays with the corner route. Had Jay not felt pressure from the edges, he probably has time to go back to Bennett, but by the time his tight end is open, Cutler is already climbing the pocket.
Sack 2 - First Quarter 5:55 Julius Peppers
This sack is all on Kyle Long.
But before we move onto that, check out Ducasse at right guard. He again takes on the bullrush and he uses his hands to keep his man at bay. Also check out the left side of the Bears' line. The Packers run a beautiful stunt with Clay Matthews. Green Bay knows that Matthews draws a lot of attention, so by having him attack the edge, then dipping inside, opposing tackles may stick with him a tick longer. That tick is just long enough for them to stunt the defensive lineman back around and catch LT Bushrod off guard.
If Kyle Long doesn't give up this sack to Peppers, Bushrod's guy would have gotten home.
But over to Long on the right side. You may have already seen the spotlight GIF below in Kev's brilliant Six on 6 from earlier today, but in case you haven't, here you go.
Long starts off in good position with his feet, but he was late getting his hands up. Once Peppers gets into Kyle's chest, it's a quick slap of his hands, then right around him. Long knows he's beat, but there's nothing he can do.
Kyle Long will replay his first game at right tackle in his mind every week this year. I've watched him improve his technique drastically from his rookie debut against the Bengals, on through his second season while playing right guard.
Now that he's at tackle, he'll have to forget some old technique and relearn how do do certain things. A week one move wasn't ideal, but now that he's there, he and the team will make the best of it.
I thought there were a few times when the Bears should have chipped to help Long out, including both of these sacks, and I thought the quick passing game helped the pass protection out.
The Bears will pour over the tape and get their protection ready for another tough task in the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.
What were your overall thoughts of the pass protection in week one?