According to the popular grading service, Pro Football Focus, the Chicago Bears do have a top five offensive line. After their play in 2016, their interior is widely considered to be among the very best in the NFL. Starting guards, Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, both have multiple Pro Bowls under their belts, and 2016 rookie Cody Whitehair, played near a Pro Bowl level at center for much of last year. The only thing that could slow down these guys is health. Long has to come back from labrum and ankle injuries, but early indication is that he’ll be ready at some point for training camp.
Their starting tackles, Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr., aren’t on that same level, and that’s what holds the Bears back from being even higher on the PFF list. As it is, they just crack the top five, with the Philadelphia Eagles (1), Cleveland Browns (2), Pittsburgh Steelers (3), and the Tennessee Titans (4) rounding out the top four.
Here’s what PFF's Mike Renner had to say about ranking Chicago at five.
Fifth might seem steep for Chicago, but at the moment there isn’t a better interior offensive line in the NFL. Left guard Josh Sitton, center Cody Whitehair, and right guard Kyle Long are all Pro Bowl-caliber players. The issues arise at tackle where Charles Leno and Bobby Massie have never proven themselves more than below average starters.
Did Massie and Leno both play like below average starters in your opinion? That’s debatable. I’ve called them both serviceable in the past, with Massie being what he is right now, and the 25 year old Leno possibly having some upside. If I were to rank them each among their peers, I probably do have Massie in the bottom third of all right tackles, but I might have Leno somewhere in the 15-20 range. Opinions will vary on where to rank players, but we’re talking about Pro Football Focus, who took “a purely grades-based approach” when compiling this list.
Pro Football Focus grades on a 0-100 point system. They call players that grade at 90+, Elite. Players with an 80-89.9 are Good/High Quality. Average players are 70-79.9. Below Average players grade out between 60.9-69.9, and a grade of 60 or less, is Poor.
According to Pro Football Focus’ grading scale, Massie was at 69.9 and Leno was 70.8. Massie was .1 away from their Average designation and Leno was .9 above the Below Average designation.
Is it possible that both Massie and Leno can elevate their play in 2017? I think familiarity in the offense, and being comfortable with the other guys on the line, could help boost their play.
What do you guys think about the Bears having a top 5 o-line?