This is getting old.
As a sports journalist, it’s really not that difficult to use Google to dig up some relevant stats to back up what ever hot take you decide to roll with. Pro Football Reference, Football Outsiders, SportingCharts.com, even Pro Football Focus has some interesting information that one could use to assist in formulating a valid point.
Take the Chicago Bears’ pass protection for example. I chart all their sacks in my weekly Sackwatch series, and those four sites I referenced above all have some sort of sacks allowed metric they use. No matter how you slice it, the Bears’ pass protection was fairly good last season.
We recently talked about Chicago’s offensive line here, here, here, here, and here. Could they improve? Most certainly, but to imply they are bad is just silly.
Over at USAToday.com, a site we’ve taken to task in the past, they recently ranked the quarterback groups of every team, and their 27th place ranking for Chicago is fair. My problem is with the reasoning behind the ranking.
Whether they go with Mike Glennon or fan-not-so-favorite rookie Mitchell Trubisky, there's a reasonable chance for decent results if the pass protection doesn't get those guys killed like it did Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw in 2016.
I’ll address Connor Shaw after hitting on the those first two QBs mentioned.
Cutler was sacked at a much higher rate than Hoyer, 11% to 2%, so if you want to use Jay to push that narrative, then fine, but Hoyer had a relatively clean pocket to throw from in 2016.
Also, it was never revealed exactly when Cutler’s week one thumb injury occurred. It could have happened on a follow through for all we know.
The labrum injury that landed Cutler on injured reserve, wasn’t really due to faulty pass protection either.
From the November 21, 2016 Chicago Tribune (the bold is mine).
Cutler, 33, was sacked four times by the Giants in the fourth quarter on Sunday and the team's medical staff talked to him after the first possession of the game. Defensive end Olivier Vernon slammed him to the turf on the second play from scrimmage to earn a roughing-the-passer penalty.
Even though he played the entire game, that roughing the passer penalty was probably where he initially hurt his shoulder.
Back to Hoyer. He broke his arm after being hit after he released the football, so if you want to put that one on the pass protection then fine, but to imply Chicago was getting quarterbacks killed is a bit of a stretch. Especially with that 2.0 sack percentage.
Now over to Connor Shaw. We all know he didn’t even play in the regular season right? Shaw was hurt in the fourth quarter of the team’s third preseason game. While I’m not certain which Bears were in on the o-line at that point in the game, the odds are good that none of the starters were in during that fourth quarter. Khaled Holmes, Jason Weaver, Garry Williams and Mike Adams are four o-line Bear backups that played in that game, and none of which are employed in the NFL at this time.
Did Chicago’s pass protection get Shaw “killed?” Perhaps, but the pass protection was from a bunch of currently unemployed guys in a preseason game.
USA Today goes on to praise the play of Hoyer, and fellow former Bear Matt Barkley, later in their rankings, so I wonder how Chicago’s pass protection held up when those two played so well in 2016?