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The Shadow
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The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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What is wrong?

Where is the problem?

What is the solution, moving forward.

In how many steps can this Line be fixed?

Bears do not need an All-Pro Line, but at least a servicable one is a neccesity.

Without a decent amount of Line play, there will be no run game improvement and QB injuries will increase.

The Shadow
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POST COUNT: 9309
Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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Kyle Long was Bears' worst player on offense in Week 5
By Bryan Perez October 07, 2019 1:47 PM

It seems like an eternity ago when Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long was considered one of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL. Now in his seventh season, Long's play has regressed steadily over the years in large part due to injuries that have limited him to just 29 starts since 2016.

He might be close to hitting rock bottom in 2019.

Long's Week 5 performance against the Oakland Raiders was bad. Really bad. It was so bad, in fact, that former Bears center Olin Kreutz questioned whether keeping Long in the starting lineup is the right move for the team.

The analytics back up the argument that Long's time as a starter may be coming to an end. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the Bears' lowest-graded player on offense in Week 5 with a putrid 42.3. And as shockingly bad as that grade is, it isn't Long's worst performance of the season. Per PFF, Long scored a 25.5 over 63 snaps against the Redskins in Week 3. Chicago won that game, making it possible to turn a blind eye to how bad Long was. But in a losing effort against a Raiders team that the Bears should've defeated? It's hard to ignore the obvious: Long is a liability right now.

He was especially bad in the run game, where the Bears have struggled to find a pulse. His 31.0 grade as a run blocker simply isn't good enough and is a big reason why rookie RB David Montgomery is getting met in the backfield rep after rep.

On the flip side, and to no surprise, Allen Robinson (7 rec., 97 yards, 2 TDs) was Chicago's best player on offense with an 85.0 grade. It was the first game this season that Robinson graded above an 80.

Having a lot of tools does not make you a Carpenter.  -Vic Fangio

 

The Shadow
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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Bears offense can't step up when defense struggles

JOSH DUBOW (AP Pro Football Writer)
The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- It was only a matter of time for the vaunted Chicago defense to have a rough week.

The problem for the Bears right now is that when the Monsters of the Midway aren't dominating as usual, the offense isn't nearly good enough to make up for it and lead the team to a win.

With a combination of a defense that got overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage and an offense that struggled to move the ball consistently behind backup quarterback Chase Daniel, the Bears lost 24-21 to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night in London.

''It's inevitable that a defense that we've had the first four weeks of the season, there's going to be a time when there's going to be a little struggle,'' coach Matt Nagy said Monday before the team headed back home for a week off. ''Yesterday happened to be that. That's credit to Oakland. But when is the offense going to step up and take over for that? That's what we're trying to get to where we're more balanced.''

That time sure wasn't Sunday when the Bears were held to 44 yards in a sluggish first half, a season-low 236 for the game, and managed to gain more than 31 yards on two of 11 drives.

Making matters worse was an uncharacteristic performance by a defense that hadn't allowed more than 17 points in nine straight games, including last season's playoffs. Oakland's physical offensive line cleared the way for 169 yards rushing and the Bears managed no sacks and only one quarterback hit.

''Just defensively overall, it wasn't really the defense that we know,'' Nagy said. ''That wasn't us. ... That wasn't really who we were.''

WHAT'S WORKING

The third quarter. The Bears played one good quarter against the Raiders, erasing a 17-0 halftime deficit by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. The offense benefited from two short fields, taking over on the 14 after a botched pitch by Oakland and the 16 after a 71-yard punt return to Tarik Cohen. Chicago turned those two chances into TDs and also had an 89-yard drive for a score as Daniel threw two TD passes and the defense allowed only two first downs.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Offensive line. A unit that was expected to be a strength for Chicago has been a major weakness so far. The Bears have struggled to run the ball through five weeks, topping 100 yards just once. This past game was the worst for the Bears as they were held to 42 yards on 17 carries with a long run of 6 yards. Pass blocking wasn't much better as a defense that had no sacks the previous two weeks came up with four.

STOCK UP

WR Allen Robinson. The one bright spot on offense was the play of Robinson, who is looking like a legitimate No. 1 receiver in his second season in Chicago. He had seven catches for 97 yards and two TDs against the Raiders. His best play might have been a toe-tapping sideline 32-yard catch on third-and-8 from the 3 early in the fourth quarter.

STOCK DOWN

Daniel. After stepping in and playing well last week when starter Mitchell Trubisky went down with a left shoulder injury on the opening drive, Daniel regressed against the Raiders. He threw an interception early in the second quarter that set up the TD that put Oakland up 14-0. He had another potential interception negated by a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth. He then spoiled a late comeback attempt when he didn't see cornerback Gareon Conley drop back deep and threw an interception with the Bears in Raiders' territory with 1:14 remaining in the game.

INJURED

DT Akiem Hicks left after eight plays with an elbow injury and didn't return. Nagy had no update on the severity of the injury. ... Nagy said QB Mitchell Trubisky will spend the bye week rehabbing his injured left shoulder at the facility and has a chance to be back when the team returns. ... DT Bilal Nichols is close to returning from a broken hand.

KEY NUMBER

169 - The Bears came into the game with the league's third-ranked rushing defense at 61.5 yards allowed per game. Chicago allowed 169 against Josh Jacobs and the Raiders for its worst performance since giving up 176 to eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia on Nov. 26, 2017.

NEXT STEPS

The Bears get a week off before returning on Oct. 20 to host the New Orleans Saints.

Having a lot of tools does not make you a Carpenter.  -Vic Fangio

 

The Shadow
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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The Bears' rushing offense is broken and running out of options
By JJ Stankevitz October 06, 2019 5:59 PM

LONDON — That Chase Daniel started instead of Mitch Trubisky in the Bears’ 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium didn’t change a concerning offensive trend: This team cannot run the ball effectively. 

The Bears averaged 2.5 yards on their 17 carries Sunday, bringing their season total to 403 yards on 118 carries (3.4 yards/attempt). Sixty of those yards — nearly 15% — came on consecutive plays by wide receivers in Week 2. None of the moves the Bears made to improve their running game from 2018 have netted any semblance of improvement. 

Flipping James Daniels to center and Cody Whitehair to guard hasn’t helped generate a consistent push. Third-round pick David Montgomery, who the Bears traded up to draft, has looked fine but can only do so much when holes aren’t there. Free-agent Mike Davis barely played Sunday and has nine carries for 22 yards this year. 

Maybe we were wrong and Jordan Howard wasn’t the problem after all. 

“Numbers don’t lie. Not good enough,” Nagy said. “You put in a lot of work to be better and we know where we’re at.”

It was telling, then, what Nagy said when asked why Daniel looked better in the second half than he did in a sluggish, ineffective first 30 minutes. 

“We threw the ball a little bit,” Nagy said. 

Run-pass balance in playcalling only goes so far when the “run” part of that is ineffective. Montgomery had two runs of 10 or more yards this season. His longest on Sunday went for six yards. The Bears need explosive plays just as much as they need consistent five-to-six yard gains on the ground.  

Not including his one-yard touchdown, six of Montgomery’s 11 runs Sunday went for three or fewer yards, while two more three-yard gains were called back for holding penalties on left tackle Charles Leno Jr. (Leno was not happy with the game’s officiating crew for throwing one of those flags). Tarik Cohen gained 10 yards on four carries. And a lot of the issues fall on the Bears’ offensive line, and perhaps fall on coaching, too. 

“It sucks because you become one dimensional,” Leno said, adding that he’s going to take a deep dive into what he can do better in the off week. “You always want to keep your defense guessing and keeping them on their toes.”

The second half Sunday was a reminder of how good this passing offense can be even if it’s one-dimensional — at least until Daniel threw what was an effectively game-sealing interception. Allen Robinson was outstanding, with seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns not telling the whole story of how impressive his play was. Daniel’s connection with him was excellent — the kind of chemistry the Bears hope to get out of Mitch Trubisky to an even greater extent when he returns from his shoulder injury.

But the Bears’ offense still feels like its ceiling is low, irrespective of who the quarterback is. It could be Trubisky, it could be Daniel, but the run game has to be better. 

So figuring out run game answers certainly will be near the top of Nagy’s off week checklist. The personnel won’t change much, if at all, in 2019. This was supposed to be the ideal setup. And yet, once again, it feels like the Bears are out of options on the ground. 

“Our options are to play better,” Nagy said. “It’s as simple as that. We need to be better. Our run game needs to get better.”

Having a lot of tools does not make you a Carpenter.  -Vic Fangio

 

BamaBear09
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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The Shadow wrote:

What is wrong?

Where is the problem?

What is the solution, moving forward.

In how many steps can this Line be fixed?

Bears do not need an All-Pro Line, but at least a servicable one is a neccesity.

Without a decent amount of Line play, there will be no run game improvement and QB injuries will increase.

1/2. Leno's effort which has now led to him being the most penalized player in the NFL... Long's body breaking down on him... the coaching staff not noticing and making a change to help...

3. No sure for the LT problem... maybe bring in some free agent tackles or check other teams practice squads to see if there are any candidates to bring in to at least maybe be competition to Leno for starts... maybe that will re-light the fire under him, I dunno...

The problem at RG... just work out Coward, Bars and Larsen and see who can handle the load... and get that guy practice reps...

4. I don't believe it will take many steps just need to get the right personel in...

I agree they don't need the greatest line ever to be successful, but they do need a line that can win one on one and find a way to get creases and cutback lanes and let their skill players have some room to navigate... let the run be established... once that happens then the play action and passing can be more effective... when they they drop back, they need to be able to win one on ones and pass off stunts properly... which they have not done a good job of at all this season...  but some run blocking like they did in the 4th quarter against Washington would be nice...

The Shadow
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POST COUNT: 9309
Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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Run-game problems far from biggest worry facing backsliding Bears offense
By John Mullin October 07, 2019 5:42 PM

The Bears’ problems on offense aren’t difficult to find. They can’t really run the football very well. They are penalized too much. Look at the scoreboard.

But arguably the true crisis facing the offense of coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich is not the inability to run the football. In the nearly two years since the hiring of Nagy, the Bears have not been built to be a running team anyway, the drafting of David Montgomery notwithstanding.

No, the bigger concern looming over all of the problems on offense is that its strength – the West Coast, high-percentage-passing scheme of Nagy/Andy Reid – isn’t a strength. And it was supposed to be.

The Nagy Bears were constructed by GM Ryan Pace to be a pass-based offense; the pass can be used to set up the run, as well as vice versa. And yet for all the concern over the run failures, the fact is that the Bears aren’t very good doing what they were designed to do.

Mitch Trubisky, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Allen Robinson, even Adam Shaheen – all these supposed “weapons” were to have been fashioned into an offensive force under Nagy. It hasn’t happened and is sliding in the opposite direction; more on that shortly.

Right now, only Robinson warrants the “weapon” designation. But that’s a personnel discussion for another time.

At this point, one reason the Bears are poor at running the football is that their quarterbacks just aren’t very good, certainly not good enough to make a defense pay for selling out to stop the Bears running, which teams really don’t have to do at this point.

And the unsettling fact is that it is more than a little bit possible to be very, very good in the NFL without a good run game. New England is 5-0 while averaging 3.5 yards per rush (compared to the Bears’ 3.4 ypc). Green Bay is 4-1 despite their 3.7 ypc. Kansas City and Seattle are 4-1 with rushing averages of 4.0 ypc.

The difference with those division leaders is obvious: quarterback competence. Not that Trubisky or Chase Daniel are to be or need to be compared to Brady, Rodgers, Mahomes or Wilson. But right now Trubisky/Daniel are throwing at a combined 86.3 passer rating, which ranks the Bears 24th in the NFL. And that’s right about even with Jay Cutler’s career mark (85.3).

The Bears were designed and staffed to do RPO’s and other assorted offensive creativities around their passing game. And they aren’t doing what they were built to do. That stands as a more ominous, broader problem for an offense that simply cannot score at even a mid-range NFL level.

Continuing overall offensive regression?

The overarching issue with the offense, beyond the run or the pass, is the one that is still unresolved since I noted in early August that the substantial scoring and yardage-production falloff in the second half of last season hinted at broader concerns about whether the NFL was onto Nagy and Trubisky. Along with that, whether the two would be able to respond.

Results suggest that they, along with Daniel, haven’t been, and in fact may be backsliding.

Over the final five 2018 games, the Bears failed to top 16 points three times and scored 92 points, total. Over the first five this season, the Bears have again failed to top 16 three times while scoring just 87 points. Total.

Only Cincinnati, Miami, Washington and the Jets have scored fewer points than the Bears, and that august foursome has zero wins. O-18 combined.

Over the final five games last season the offense was at least exhibiting a pulse; 325 yards or more in four of the five and 294 in the fifth.

The offense has failed to muster 300 yards even once through these 2019 first five games. The “strength” of the offense, the Nagy passing game, has produced 208 yards twice, vs. Green Bay and Washington; the other three game totals have been sub-200 yards.

Looking a little deeper: The Bears have been outscored 33-6 through five fourth quarters this season, the only quarter in which opponents hold a scoring edge on them, but obviously a staggeringly significant one. There is something fundamentally wrong with an offense that has not scored a fourth-quarter touchdown in five games this year and not since the 9-minute mark of their playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Nagy does indeed need to discover his team’s hot buttons. And those buttons need to be pressed. Hard.

Having a lot of tools does not make you a Carpenter.  -Vic Fangio

 

PapaBear.OR
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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Bears are sixth-most penalized team in the NFL

Penalties can be a killer — especially for an offense that’s trying to establish a rhythm. It seemed like every time the offense seemed to generate something, there was a flag that backed them up, as Nagy said, to third-and-20. It’s impossible to get your offense going when you keep shooting yourselves in the foot.

Charles Leno Jr. is the most-penalized player in the NFL with eight penalties, including two false starts and four holding calls. Three of those penalties came Sunday against the Raiders, including two costly holds and a false start.

https://bearswire.usatoday.com/2019/10/08/bears-are-sixth-most-penalized-team-in-the-nfl/

Butkus never wore an earring

PapaBear.OR
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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Current depth and options available to the Bears at OG includes practice squad.........

OL Alex Bars turned down Patriots to remain on Bears' practice squad

As the Chicago Bears search for answers to their offensive line woes, one of the resolutions might be undrafted free agent offensive lineman Alex Bars. Bars is recovering nicely from that torn ACL he suffered 13 months ago, which ultimately was the reason he went undrafted.

In the first five games this season, Pro Football Focus ranks Long in the bottom five of all NFL guards in overall offensive performance (39.7), pass-blocking (45.6), and run-blocking (40.2).

Long isn’t getting any younger, Ted Larsen is on a one-year deal and Rashaad Coward is a developmental player. Bars could find himself in contention for a starting job at right guard this offseason. Or, with Matt Nagy and the Bears searching for answers on the offensive line, perhaps sooner.

https://bearswire.usatoday.com/2019/10/07/ol-alex-bars-turned-down-patriots-to-remain-on-bears-practice-squad/

 At this point I would not be surprised to see at least some shuffling of guys on that depth chart....... I don't think stashing Long on IR makes any sense this season.  If he is done it is probably time to cut losses and part ways.

Butkus never wore an earring

The Shadow
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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PapaBear.OR wrote:

Current depth and options available to the Bears at OG includes practice squad.........

OL Alex Bars turned down Patriots to remain on Bears' practice squad

As the Chicago Bears search for answers to their offensive line woes, one of the resolutions might be undrafted free agent offensive lineman Alex Bars. Bars is recovering nicely from that torn ACL he suffered 13 months ago, which ultimately was the reason he went undrafted.

In the first five games this season, Pro Football Focus ranks Long in the bottom five of all NFL guards in overall offensive performance (39.7), pass-blocking (45.6), and run-blocking (40.2).

Long isn’t getting any younger, Ted Larsen is on a one-year deal and Rashaad Coward is a developmental player. Bars could find himself in contention for a starting job at right guard this offseason. Or, with Matt Nagy and the Bears searching for answers on the offensive line, perhaps sooner.

https://bearswire.usatoday.com/2019/10/07/ol-alex-bars-turned-down-patriots-to-remain-on-bears-practice-squad/

 At this point I would not be surprised to see at least some shuffling of guys on that depth chart....... I don't think stashing Long on IR makes any sense this season.  If he is done it is probably time to cut losses and part ways.

How many still want him at LT? I remember when that was all the rage, when he was drafted. I like Long, but....he is done. Father Time is still undefeated. (Though FT and Brady are in extra innings)

Having a lot of tools does not make you a Carpenter.  -Vic Fangio

 

PapaBear.OR
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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The Shadow wrote:

 

PapaBear.OR wrote:

Current depth and options available to the Bears at OG includes practice squad.........

OL Alex Bars turned down Patriots to remain on Bears' practice squad

 At this point I would not be surprised to see at least some shuffling of guys on that depth chart....... I don't think stashing Long on IR makes any sense this season.  If he is done it is probably time to cut losses and part ways.

How many still want him at LT? I remember when that was all the rage, when he was drafted. I like Long, but....he is done. Father Time is still undefeated. (Though FT and Brady are in extra innings)

I honestly thought early on he might end up there, but that ship has sailed for sure.

Butkus never wore an earring

PapaBear.OR
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Re: The Offensive Line (It starts up front)
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What changes can Bears make up front

Bears fans and analysts, on the other hand, should have little difficulty in pinpointing the team’s O-line as its single biggest concern at the bye week.

It’s unlikely that the thorough evaluation of his players that Matt Nagy also vowed to do this week leads to a decision that involves replacing Leno, who has two seasons remaining on the four-year, $37 million contract extension he received in the 2017 preseason.

Remember, few players created more consternation with their performance this summer than swing OT Cornelius Lucas. He acquitted himself fairly well in a spot start for RT Bobby Massie in Washington, but that was on the right side against among the worst teams in football.

Leno’s costly mistakes might make his poor play easier for everyone to see and scrutinize, but it’s possible Kyle Long — the unit’s most accomplished performer and the team’s longest-tenured homegrown player — has been as big or bigger of a detriment to a run game that ranks 29th in yards per rush, down two spots from last season, despite wholesale backfield changes and all five O-linemen back.

And even after valuable utility OG Ted Larsen injured his knee vs. the Minnesota Vikings and didn't travel to London, it’s still possible the Bears decide during the bye week that Rashaad Coward, gives them a better chance than Long to help fix the run game.

Coward, the converted Old Dominion D-lineman, earned high marks for his work replacing Larsen vs. the Vikings in his most extensive NFL regular-season action to date. He looked smooth and agile on the move,............Although Long is hardly the only issue, giving Coward a shot, and trusting Leno can rediscover his focus, might be their best hopes right now.

https://www.kulr8.com/sports/national/what-changes-can-bears-make-up-front-to-jump-start/article_f39635a8-5b4e-5dee-ab2b-f963e545312c.html

I think this^^^^^^^^ is about where I am at right now, and then they really should be quietly scouting and shopping Tackles from here on out.

Butkus never wore an earring

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