It’s too early to overreact, but Bobby Massie looked out-classed at right tackle.
The Chicago Bears lost their season opener to the Houston Texans 23-14 on Sunday afternoon. The loss itself wasn’t that bad. The Bears had a fourth quarter lead, Jerrell Freeman was all over the field, and Alshon Jeffery looked like he’s going to have a tremendous season.
Losing to the Texans on the road is not a bad loss. The Texans won the AFC South last season and appear to be the class of the division again this year. With an upgrade at QB and at running back, paired with a tremendous defense, the Texans should only be better in 2016.
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Most logical Bears fans had the team losing their opener. Even the optimists that had the team finishing 9-7 or 10-6 most likely had the Bears starting off 0-1. The loss isn’t troubling. Sure, there were negatives. A team can’t score 14 points and lose the game and not have negatives. The running game needs to improve. The secondary has some issues. The pass rush needs to get to the quarterback.
Those issues are ones that can be corrected. The Bears offensive line will continue to gel. Vic Fangio’s defense should continue to improve as the young players develop and learn his system better. But there was one glaring issue, a major issue, that may not be corrected this season.
Bobby Massie is going to get Jay Cutler killed.
Yes, the Texans have one of the better pass rushes in the NFL, but Massie’s performance showed that he is still deplorable in pass protection. The Texans treated Cutler like a pinata. Cutler was sacked 5 times and the QB was hit an additional 13 times.
If JJ Watt was the individual torching Massie on a regular basis, perhaps you could cut Massie a break. But it didn’t matter if it was Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, or Whitney Mercilus, all of the defenders had their way with Massie. He was beaten by bull rushes, he was beaten to the outside, he even was beaten inside. His pass protection was dreadful. Even Kyle Long berated his line mate on the sidelines.
Massie’s feet looked like they were stuck in concrete most of the day. This tweet from The Score’s Tim Baffoe couldn’t be more fitting.
Massie is a problem. His pass protection is so porous that Cutler is going to take some hard shots this season because of it. Cody Whitehair missed some stunts and Charles Leno struggled at times as well, but neither of them had issues that were as glaring as the Bears’ right tackle.
Keep in mind, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said last week that the team was better off with Massie in another uniform.
And yes, that’s the same (Ted) Larsen that is also currently in a Bears’ uniform. The biggest issue with Massie is that the Bears may not have another solution. The Bears depth at tackle is very weak. Mike Adams is not the answer. Finding a free agent tackle at this point isn’t going to happen either.
The Bears can either hope Massie’s pass protection will improve (doubtful), give Adams a shot (not very beneficial), or just cross their fingers and hope Cutler doesn’t suffer damage to his internal organs taking shot after shot thanks to Massie’s struggles. The best thing the Bears could do to strengthen their offensive line at this point is to move Long back out to right tackle, and use the combination of Josh Sitton, Larsen and Whitehair in the middle of the line. It’s much easier to hide a guy like Larsen in the middle of the line, then hide a guy like Massie on the outside.
The problem with that last solution is that Chicago is not a win-now team. They are building for the future. The future of the team is with Long at right guard where he can dominate. Having Long play out of position this year to try and protect Cutler is going to stunt your growth for the future.
The silver lining is that Massie has very little guaranteed money after this season so Ryan Pace can admit his mistake and let Massie go at season’s end. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help this season and certainly doesn’t help Jay Cutler.
In the short term, Dowell Loggains and offensive line coach Dave Magazu are going to have to look at blocking schemes and see what they can do to give Massie a little assistance on the right side. The Bears have a problem on their hands. If the coaching staff doesn’t figure out a solution, Brian Hoyer is going to be quarterbacking this team and Cutler is going to end up on IR.