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How do you feel about the Bears offensive line?

I’m confident that the new offensive philosophy will help cut down the sacks allowed this year. Plus, I think the Bears’ o-line is a solid group. What do you guys think?

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When I sit and ponder about what we should expect from the 2018 version of the Chicago Bears, I can’t help but feel optimism. The national pundits have been heaping praise on our favorite team, and the local experts have a lot of positive things to say as well. Even the local guys that have been mandated to be negative are struggling to come up with reasonable criticism.

Even though I can’t help but to look at the Bears through navy and orange colored glasses after their fantastic offseason, I still have some concerns. Back on May 7, I wrote that my biggest concern with the current roster was finding a reliable pass rush off the edge, and you guys agreed with me with 77% of the vote in our poll.

What prompted my article that day was ESPN and Football Outsiders picking the Bears’ secondary as the biggest hole on their roster. There were 13% of you guys that agreed with that assessment. “Other” garnered 10% of the vote, and a scan of the comment section made it seem like most of that percentage had offensive line concerns.

A couple weeks ago, the Mothership published; The 1 position each NFL team should be worried about heading into the 2018 season, and they agreed with our minority vote, picking offensive line as the most worrisome position in Chicago.

Mitchell Trubisky was sacked on nearly 9 percent of his dropbacks as a rookie, a number that could derail the development of the 2017 first-round pick. They also lost veteran guard Josh Sitton this offseason. To address that, Chicago added Earl Watford, a right guard who started just 22 games in four seasons with Arizona, and drafted James Daniels, who played center for all but two games in college (and he’ll have to move to guard if he’s going to play as a rookie). Charles Leno and Bobby Massie are useful bookends at tackle, but there’s lots of room for improvement up front for the Bears.

Young quarterbacks tend to take more sacks because they are young quarterbacks. They process things a tick slower, their grasp of the offense isn’t where a vet QB would be, and some youngsters try and do a little too much. All things that lead to sacks. Then you factor in the Bears’ laughable offensive philosophy from a year ago and are you surprised Trubisky had an 8.6 sack percentage.

Here are the sack percentages of a few other 2017 rookie QBs that actually played a little bit.

DeShone Kizer 7.4%

Deshaun Watson 8.5%

C.J. Beathard 7.9%

I think a more confident Trubisky, plus a more competent offensive philosophy, equals fewer sacks.

But on to the big fellas up front...

I do think cutting Josh Sitton could hurt. He may not be the same player he once was, but he’s still a smart pass protector. I had him down for allowing two sacks last year in my final Sackwatch.

Rookie James Daniels figures to be the odds on favorite to start on Chicago’s interior, and while he’s a very good prospect, to expect him to play at Sitton’s level may not be realistic. Then again, he does have all the tools to be able to hold his own as a rookie in pass protection. Whether at left guard, or at center, I think Daniels will have a solid 2018.

I’m not worried about Cody Whitehair, who is currently slated at center, either. He did regress a bit last year, but that was on scheme and usage. Whether at center, or at left guard, I expect Whitehair to get it done this season.

The final piece of the interior puzzle is Kyle Long, who has missed 14 games the last two years after missing only 1 the previous three. I’d be lying if I said his injury history didn’t concern me, but the latest out of Halas Hall is that Long is already working out. He looks to be on track to assume his customary spot at right guard for week one.

I agree with SB Nation’s take on Chicago’s tackles, calling them “useful bookends.” Bobby Massie is what he is, and to expect him to suddenly become fleet of foot would be silly. But he can be, and he has been, serviceable. Especially with the smart offensive scheming and play calling they’ll have with the new offensive think-tank.

The 26-year old Leno signed a four-year extension last August, and he’s currently the 14th highest paid left tackle in the game. That places him middle of the pack of the 32 left tackles, and that seems fair to me. I think the offense will benefit him as well. I had Leno and Massie both down for allowing 3.5 sacks last year.

Besides Long coming back healthy, I’m not that concerned with their starting five.

I really liked how Eric Kush played two years ago so if he’s healthy, and all indications are that he is, he’s a solid backup on the interior. Earl Watford is another decent backup guard,. and he has some experience at right tackle too. Second year pro Jordan Morgan is an unknown, but if anyone can get him up to speed, it’s o-line coach Harry Hiestand.

The swing tackle concerns me, but I think the Bears could upgrade after some veteran cuts are made this fall.

All in all, I’m good with the Bears offensive line.


Are you comfortable with the Bears’ o-line heading into the 2018 season?

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  • 75%
    (685 votes)
  • 24%
    (228 votes)
913 votes total Vote Now

In case you missed it, make sure you check out Andrew’s latest o-line Xs&Os breakdown, To Be (an Outside Zone Team), or Not To Be...That, is the Question.