How did Bryan Witzmann perform in his first start as the Chicago Bears right guard?
In a bit of a surprise, the Chicago Bears turned to Bryan Witzmann rather than Eric Kush to start at right guard against the Detroit Lions. Kush was dealing with a neck injury but appeared to be healthy. Bryan Witzmann started for Matt Nagy in Kansas City last year so this is not a huge shock, but considering Kush was starting in Week One, it is a bit of a fall for him.
As James Daniels has gotten accustomed to the NFL, we have tracked his first two starts. With Witzmann making his first, it is a good time to shift the attention over to him.
First, the positive. Witzmann did not give up a sack. Trubisky was hardly under pressure when Witzmann was challenged in pass protection. Of course, this can also be chalked up to a few things.
More from Bear Goggles On
- Franchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFL
- How the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears
One is that the Lions do not have much of a pass rush, especially in the interior. Damon Harrison has 6.5 sacks in seven career seasons. He has zero sacks this ear. A’Shawn Robinson has zero sacks as well and has 2.5 in three seasons to this point. It would have been an issue had these two challenged Witzmann in this regard.
The two are on the field to defend the run. That is where they got the better of Witzmann at times. In the play linked here, Witzmann gets a little help from Bobby Massie. However, Robinson got his hand on the shoulder of Witzmann, and that was enough to push him away and make the play. In the play linked here, Damon Harrison got the best of him. Moving laterally was an issue area for Witzmann on Sunday.
In the play here, is trying to pull and establish a block on the edge. However, he makes the wrong read and blocks the wrong player. He sees 52 coming off of the edge, and shoots for him. However, Charles Leno had just completed a combination block and was responsible for that blocker. Witzmann needs to pick up 35, Miles Killebrew shooting in off of the edge.
He doesn’t, and the play is blown up in the backfield with Witzmann looking around wondering what happened.
This last play was his worst of the day. Witzmann lines up on Ricky Jean-Francois. He is supposed to give an initial push, then shoot out into open field to set up the screen pass. Unfortunately, Jean-Francois gets the better of him with the initial push. It forced Witzmann to reset his feet and regain his balance.
Witzmann shoots into the open field from there but is too late to get hands-on Killebrew, who slips under him. Going from falling off of his back foot to bursting forward and missing caused him to lose balance and end up on the ground.
While we highlighted the bad, that was the extent of the bad. The first couple of plays are situations where a backup guard is losing battles with premier run defenders in run blocking.
The missed pull block is a communication issue that you assume could be resolved with more work next to his linemates. The failed execution on the screen is the disappointing play. Hopefully, he can grow from this performance.