How has Kyle Long looked through the first four games of the Chicago Bears 2018 season?
Coming back from missing a lot of time over the last two seasons, Kyle Long has flown under the radar in 2018, mainly because of him being healthy and fitting into the line. With the Chicago Bears bye week after his first four games back from season-ending surgery, how would you grade Long, and what are the hopes for the future?
As a run blocker, Long is one of the best for the Chicago Bears. He has had his slip-ups in run support, as shown in the highlight here, he has typically held his own in the running game. Especially when compared to his peers. The Bears have not run to Leno enough but have been adequate to his side.
However, their most success this season has been running right behind Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long. While they have been above average in success rate running behind Long, it is worth noting that one of the main struggles that Howard has faced this season is breaking runs into the second level.
Some of this comes down on Long. While he has been stable as a run blocker, he has not been elite. He has been a step slow getting off of the ball and into the second level at times, and that likely has played a role in the slow Howard start.
Given his past with foot injuries, this is no surprise. It also could mean that as the season goes on, he starts to shake off the rust and the Bears improve running behind Long. That will be worth watching.
In pass protection, Long has been the third most consistent of the group behind Whitehair and Leno. Long has surrendered one sack, one pressure, two hits, and lost four reps that did not have a substantial effect on the play. With eight combined losses in pass protection, he is below Whitehair with five and Leno with six, but ahead of Eric Kush, with 11.
While Long had some tough reps, it is worth noting that a lot of his issues came last week against Gerald McCoy. While many Bucs did not show up for that game, their superstar McCoy did and got the better of Long in a few moments. While that is worth noting, it is also a superstar performer in a game where that was the only thing that didn’t go right. The team will get by.
Kyle Long is not playing to the highest level of his career right now. However, he is playing above average football and has been a consistent, relied on force. Whether he can elevate his physical athleticism to the point of being an impact blocker will be worth noting, but even as he comes back from injury, the floor is high with Long.