Nick Foles has only been the Chicago Bears quarterback for a little over two games, but the small sample size of the offense with him at the helm has been much different than what we’ve seen the previous two and a half games.
According to Pro Football Focus, 64.4% of Foles’ passes have been thrown in less than 2.5 seconds, which is the 3rd highest in the NFL, whereas only 34.7% of Mitchell Trubisky’s passes were thrown in less than 2.5 seconds, which is the lowest in the NFL. You can interpret that stat how ever you want, but to me it means that Foles has been doing a nice job in reading the defense pre-snap, and then quickly processing what happens post snap, before delivering the ball.
A quick strike offense with a cerebral trigger man can help out a teams pass protection as much as, if not more than, a scrambling quarterback can.
On the season, Foles has been sacked 3.4% of the time, which is fifth fewest in the league, while Trubisky has been sacked 7.5% of the time, which is 20th. Again, you can spin those numbers how ever you want, but considering the Bears last two games were against the top 2 ranked DVOA defenses, I’d say the pass protection has been adequate.
Could it use some work? Yes. Have the tackles had some questionable pass sets? Of course. Could things take a turn for the worse with left guard James Daniels out for the year? Again, yes.
The Bears are counting on Foles giving the offense some stability, and if he does that everything will start to look better including the pass protection.
Let’s break down the three sacks they allowed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sack 9 - 3rd Quarter 8:20 - Vita Vea
We can chalk this one up as Alex Bars’ welcome to the NFL moment.
This is a four man rush by the Bucs, and it looks like center Cody Whitehair calls out the mike linebacker, so if he would have rushed through an A-gap, that’s who Whitehair would have blocked. This kept Charles Leno Jr. on an island with the edge rusher at left tackle and left guard Bars one on one with the mammoth Vita Vea.
Vea knew there wasn’t a blitz on, so even though he lined up on Bars’ inside shoulder, he wanted to work through the B-gap where there would be no possible help.
Bars loses this one off the initial jolt that Vea delivers. It popped him up, then all Vea had to do was walk him back and make the easy sack. This one is on Bars.
Sack 10 - 4th Quarter 12:56 - Jason Pierre-Paul
First off, kudos to right tackle Bobby Massie for the heads up play of jumping on the fumble, but if he didn’t give up the edge to Jason Pierre-Paul in about second he never would have been 10 yards in the backfield.
This is another easy one to place blame, as Massie’s kick step takes him too vertical. He was too deep and didn’t have the angle to cut off Pierre-Paul, who has 83.5 sacks in his 11 year career.
The reason I GIF’ed up this view instead of the end zone view is because I wanted to point out that Foles was about to unload the pass to Cordarrelle Patterson, who was streaking towards the corner of the end zone. Don’t be surprised to see the Bears come back to this play at some point this year.
Sack 11 - 4th Quarter 4:45 - William Gholston
Right guard Germain Ifedi gives up the sack, but it was a good individual effort from William Gholston, who comes all the way from Chicago’s left side where he was lined up over Leno.
Ifedi had a blitzer threatening his inside gap, so with them in a 7 man protection, he knew that was his responsibility. Massie had the linebacker over him if he came, and tight end Jimmy Graham had the edge rusher one on one.
Ifedi pinched the gap too aggressively, then once he turned his shoulders he wasn’t in position for the stunting Gholston who came back to him. Had Ifedi stayed square he likely makes this block, but he didn’t so it’s on him.
2020 Individual Sackwatch after 5 games:
Sacks Happen - 2
Mitchell Trubisky - 2
Bobby Massie - 2
Cody Whitehair - 1
Alex Bars - 1
Germain Ifedi - 1
Charles Leno Jr. - 1
Jimmy Graham - .5
James Daniels - .5
Sackwatch after 5 games:
2010 - 21 Martz
2011 - 18 Martz
2012 - 14 Tice
2013 - 9 Trestman
2014 - 12 Trestman
2015 - 11 Gase
2016 - 11 Loggains
2017 - 9 Loggains
2018 - 12 Nagy
2019 - 13 Nagy
2020 - 11 Nagy