I swore off cursing the Bears offensive line last year…that was last year. As I watched the game unfold….another seemingly meaningless preseason game, I was struck by how much the team looked the same as it did last year. It is preseason so overreacting is commonplace and to be expected. So should we be worried? The line gave up 7 sacks in an offense that is supposed to feature short, high percentage passes. I think we should be alarmed, especially for the starting unit.
Especially for a certain Right Tackle named J’Marcus Webb. Webb gave up two sacks in limited action and looked like he has looked for the past few years…inconsistent. Webb is still the guy he has always been. Why would we expect otherwise? He shut down his twitter account recently though I am certain that won’t suddenly transform him in to an NFL caliber stud Right Tackle.
Webb was drafted in the 7th round from West Texas A&M. Webb is a giant of a man standing 6′ 7″ and listed at 333 pounds. He looks the part…at least until game time. He is the kind of player that can make a GM look good if he plays as good as he looks like he should play. He is also a “coach-killer” if said coach gets caught up in the hype and potential.
Tice did and it cost him dearly. Lets hope Trestman is more objective and accurate in his assessment. I really believe the Bears made many, many moves in free agency and the draft to bolster the offensive line and the team in general. Unfortunately, Webb is still in a position where it seems like he is already penciled in as the starter. Scary stuff I say! What to do? Look to Webb’s left elbow.
Lining up to the left of J’Marcus Webb’s position is a player named Kyle Long. I am not reading much about Long being considered a Tackle but I am going on record saying he is the Bear’s Right Tackle of the future. I hope that Long’s future begins sooner than later. By that I mean, lets not wait for Webb to give up a season ending sack for Jay Cutler before the switch is made.
I know Long is short on experience. He is listed at 6’6″ and 311 pounds, but I have seen and read enough already to know this guy plays large. Some large players play small…Webb for example. Long has been impressive in terms of his physical playing style and plays larger than his stature says he should. This is a real good sign! The alternative is more shoddy play at Right Tackle.
Long needs snaps, film, coaching and a little experience and I truly believe the team will be far better off with him at Right Tackle now, than another season with Webb on the end of the line. Given Long’s lack of experience, I sure would like to see him get some time at Right Tackle starting game 2. Will he? I actually doubt it. I somehow have the nagging feeling that Kromer, Trestman and company are repeating the last regime’s mistakes. Wisdom is the ability to learn from other’s mistakes after all. Here is to hoping that Trestman is a wise man and has a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo. Change occurs when the pain of maintaining the status quo is so great that it overcomes the fear of change.
As a Bear fan, I can not fathom another season of horrid offensive line play. I am absolutely positive that if the offensive line played like a top 10 O-Line plays, we would have a top 10 QB with a top 10 offense. I am so sure of that…just look at the O-line ranking in the league vs the Offensive output and ranking…there is a strong correlation. Last year, according to Pro Football Focus, the Bears had the 30th ranked offensive line. The Bears finished 28th in total yards…no surprise there.
So before we get enamored with Alshon Jeffery’s second year encore or Martellus Bennett’s impact on the passing game or even whether Jay Cutler is going to step up to the plate and play to the potential that all of us Bear fans can plainly see….lets fix the O-Line! The offense will go as far as the line allows it to.
So Bear fans…will the Bears fix their offensive line woes this season?