Many can say that the Chicago Bears’ offense wasn’t productive because they had a backup quarterback playing this past Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers. However, if someone were to tell me that, I would say that they are 100 percent wrong.
Chicago’s offense was probably the worst I’ve seen all season against the 49ers, and it’s all because of the offensive line. Inconsistent pass protection and a below average display of run blocking made it painfully obvious that the offensive line is the one thing that is keeping the Bears’ offense from becoming one of the best in the league.
After Monday night’s loss, Chicago is ranked 31st in the league in sacks allowed with 34. Three times this season the Bears have surrendered at least six sacks in a game, one of those times being last night to San Francisco.
If I had to pinpoint one position in particular, which would be hard to do, I would have to say left tackle J’Marcus Webb is the weakest link on the o-line. Webb constantly blocks without moving his feet, therefore allowing pass rushers to just fly by him play after play. In addition to his lack of fundamental skills, Webb was the most penalized lineman in the league last year.
On the other side of the offensive line, right tackle Gabe Carimi has shown inconsistencies, as well. The 2011 first-round draft pick missed virtually all of last season due to injury, but still hasn’t played up to his draft status this season.
Another thing that has stunted the growth of the Bears’ offensive line is the fact that linemen have been moved around so many times over the past few years, mainly due to injuries. Center Roberto Garza originally was a right guard, Webb was a right tackle before moving to the left side, Carimi played left tackle in college and was moved to the right side of the o-line when drafted by the Bears. Lance Louis moved from left guard to right guard and Chilo Rachal played right guard in San Francisco before coming to Chicago to play left guard.
If some of the Bears starting offensive linemen stay in one position for more than one year, and management bring in more talented blockers to take the place of Webb and maybe Louis and Rachal, they should have a much better chance of being a better unit.
All of this will fall on the shoulders of general manager Phil Emery. This past offseason, Emery was brought in to the Bears’ organization as their new GM and won over Bears fans by bringing in wide receiver Brandon Marshall and other free agents and draft picks. Emery further solidified his popularity with Chicago by signing running back Matt Forte to a long-term contract.
In order for the Bears’ offense to match the level of play of their defense, Emery’s number one focus this upcoming offseason needs to be on the offensive line. Whether if it’s through the draft, or via free agency, Chicago has to spend money on players who can protect a franchise quarterback, and open holes for one of the best running backs in the league.
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