The 2017 Chicago Bears aren’t protecting the quarterback as good as last year’s team. Part of that does fall on the players, in particular the offensive line, but I’m also seeing plenty of blame for the scheme and the play calling this year.
Predictable play calling hurts every aspect of the offense, because if the defense feels they know what’s coming, it’s like giving them a head-start. The Bears are getting caught in third and long far too much, because there’s no creativity on first and second downs. There isn’t enough variance in the play calls.
Chicago’s screen game also hasn’t been very good, and successful screens are a great way to slow a pass rush. We saw first hand how screens could affect a defense while watching the New Orleans Saints run the play Sunday.
The bye week is always a great time for a coaching staff to take a step back and reevaluate their game plan, so hopefully the Bears take advantage of the time off and make some necessary changes.
Let’s see how the pass protection for the Bears is looking...
Sackwatch after 8 games
2010 - 32 Martz
2011 - 21 Martz
2012 - 28 Tice
2013 - 12 Trestman
2014 - 20 Trestman
2015 - 14 Gase
2016 - 14 Loggains
2017 - 19 Loggains
Sack 18 - Second Quarter 9:11 - Kenny Vaccaro and Cameron Jordan
Mitchell Trubisky takes a seven step drop from the shotgun which places him nearly 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. I’m not saying he dropped back to far, because I have no idea how this specific play is taught, but an edge rusher with an aim-point that deep makes it tough for an offensive tackle to cut him off.
But in this case, it wouldn't have mattered. Right tackle Bobby Massie had no chance as he had his punch swatted away by Cameron Jordan (#94).
Massie’s kick slide was a bit slow and the angle wasn’t the best either, but even if Trubisky sets up a few yards closer, Jordan was still getting home. Massie deserves blame on this sack, but he’s not the only one.
The Saints rushed six, but they were showing a double blitz over right guard Tom Compton. On the snap, both linebackers dropped into coverage and two defensive backs on the left side blitz. Safety Kenny Vaccaro (#32) is unblocked off Chicago’s left side, and an unblocked blitzer is usually the responsibility of the quarterback. Trubisky has to recognize the blitz and find his hot receiver on this third and 7 play. The hot receiver is usually in the vicinity of the blitz, and since the Bears had three receiving options on the left side, you would think someone should be open.
Let’s go to the All-22 tape to see where Trubisky could have gone.
None of the Bears receivers on the left ran anything shallow enough to make New Orleans pay for blitzing. Zach Miller’s crossing route from the top of the screen would have required a pinpoint pass, but something hot should have been built into the play for the two inside receivers on the left. Since Vaccaro split the sack, I’ll split the sack allowed between Massie and Sacks Happen.
Sack 19 - Second Quarter :32 - Trey Hendrickson
Number 91, Trey Hendrickson, is the Saints right defensive tackle and he’s lined up over Chicago left guard Josh Sitton. I think Sitton may have stepped in a hole, because his feet are stuck on the snap and Hendrickson goes right around him.
Sitton tries to recover and push Hendrickson past the pocket, but the defensive tackle’s swim move put him over the top of the block attempt.
This one is on Sitton, but take a peak at right guard Compton. What in the blue hell is that pirouette move? Luckily Jordan Howard blasted the Saint defensive tackle, otherwise he would have got in on this sack as well.
This was a third and thirteen play, so Trubisky had to give his receivers a chance to get open, but the pressure up the middle came so quick, and he didn’t have a chance. The All-22 shows that there wasn’t a quick outlet to keep them in closer field goal range.
Individual Sackwatch through 8 games
Sacks Happen - 5.5
Charles Leno - 3.5
Mike Glennon - 2
Josh Sitton - 2
Bobby Massie - 2
Mitchell Trubisky - 1
Bradley Sowell - 1
Zach Miller - .5
Cody Whitehair - .5
Kyle Long - .5
Jordan Howard - .5
In case you missed it, I was a guest on Da Bears Brothers Podcast last night and we talked about the Bears offensive and defensive lines.