The Chicago Bears have a huge offseason ahead of them as they try to fill holes all over the roster, but their biggest issues seem to be in the offensive and defensive line rooms. They failed to protect the quarterback and get after opposing quarterbacks consistently, and both units are in desperate need of a makeover. It wouldn’t surprise me to see general manager Ryan Poles go out and get six or seven new starters.
Chicago’s defense had just 20 sacks, the fewest in the NFL, and they were led by rookie safety Jaquan Brisker’s 4. Three and a half of those 20 sacks were accumulated by players that were traded away, and in total, only 9.5 sacks were due to their defensive line. Justin Jones is a versatile player that may be best served as a rotational piece, Trevis Gipson didn’t build off his 2021 season, and Dominique Robinson is a raw prospect still finding his way.
The Bears’ offensive line has Teven Jenkins as a lock to return at right guard, and they seem committed to Braxton Jones in some capacity, although Jones needs to clean some things up before the 2023 season. Lucas Patrick was Poles’ big acquisition last offseason, but his 2022 was a major disappointment.
I had Chicago’s offensive line responsible for 29.5 of the 58 sacks the offense allowed, with Jones’ 10.5 being the most from the o-line. Pass protection is a team problem and not just a trenches problem, but they desperately need better pass protection from the five guys up front.
Check out this analytic that Jacob pulled from SIS DataHub in his Tweet.
The #Bears created pressure on just 24% of pass-rushing snaps this year, the lowest in the NFL.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) January 22, 2023
On the flip side, Justin Fields got pressured on an NFL-worst 44.3% of his dropbacks. If that's not a sign Ryan Poles needs to invest in the trenches, I don't know what is.
Anyone who watched the games knew the Bears had problems in the trenches, but seeing the data in black and white drives the point home.
This may be a quarterback-driven league, but football is still won and lost in the trenches, and I expect a substantial free agent investment on both fronts, with draft capital also being used to address the pressure problem.