Chicago Bears offensive line up against big test

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10: Josh Sitton /

The Chicago Bears interior line is supposed to be a team strength. Can they play up to that hype in a huge test?

Coming into the 2017 season, one thing that was supposed to be sure was the Bears interior combination. Josh Sitton and Kyle Long have the reputation, and after a strong rookie season, Cody Whitehair was becoming a commodity. However, this combination has failed to live up to the hype through six weeks.

A lot of it can be excused. Long missed the entire offseason and the first two games of the season with an ankle issue. With four games in the books, he is essentially just brushing off the preseason rust. Long’s first game back also happened to be the one game that Sitton missed this season.

With so much shuffling between the guards, it has forced the Bears to use Cody Whitehair at guard at times, putting Hroniss Grasu at center. However, taking away valuable snaps for your young and up and coming center is not the brightest idea. While Whitehair has not been great in 2017 as a blocker, snaps have been one major issue for him this season. It probably doesn’t help that a guard in college lost the chance to take a lot of snaps at center in practice and the offseason. It has led to the Bears ranking 20th in adjusted line yards and 23rd in stuffed rank, runs of zero yards or less.

Now, the Bears face arguably the best front that they have seen all season. In rush defense on a snap by snap basis, the Panthers rank number six against the run. The Vikings rank fifth, but their defense is predicated off of filling holes against the run. The Panthers do it by getting a big push in the middle with a duo of Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei.

Next: Can outside WRs get involved?

If this name brand line is not ready to live up to that success, they are going to get eaten alive by this defensive line. If they are ready to turn a corner, after three straight games starting together, this could be a breakout day for the running attack and a game in which the Bears make a real statement in the NFC North.