The value of blocking wide receivers in the Chicago Bears offense

Chicago Bears - Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Chicago Bears were assembling their wide receiver room this offseason there was a bit of a joke going around that they had a better run-blocking group of a pass catcher than anyone in the NFL.

When they signed Equanimeous St. Brown they talked about his blocking, and Byron Pringle joined N’Keal Harry as two of the best blockers at the wideout slot. Even Chase Claypool can be mistaken for a tight end every once and a while.

While that is such a little detail, and probably more of a side note than anything, it is has shown to pay off. Take the Chicago Bears 56-yard touchdown run from Justin Fields on Sunday. This run does not happen without two great blocks from Dante Pettis and Byron Pringle.

Below is the image from above when Justin Fields is about to take off. Dante Pettis is right where the play button is. Meanwhile, Byron Pringle is running a post from the top to the bottom, in the image below he is close to the 45.

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Now, as Justin Fields is heading to the line you can see how valuable these two are. First, Rudy Ford is on Dante Pettis. Pettis sits in the zone and has eyes on his quarterback. Once he sees him tuck the ball, he turns into a blocker. Here, we see him seal off Ford and give Justin Fields the inside lane. Still, we also see 31, Adrian Amos lurking at the top.

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However, Byron Pringle goes from running his post route to blocker mode instantly. The image below is perfect. We see Pettis has cleared Ford all the way out. Also, Pringle is now right on the shoulder of Amos for a strong seal. Fields and Amos are face-to-face, but we know that Fields has to make one small cut inside and Amos will run right into the block of Pringle.

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Now that you see the result, go back and see how quickly Pringle gets across the field and goes from his route to blocking. This is a real heads-up play, and if he does not get all the way across the field, Amos may turn a 56-yard touchdown into a nice 10-yard scramble.

When the Chicago Bears hired a new GM there were rumors that the coaching staff was not sold on Justin Fields, and that signing blocking wideouts speaks to that.

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However, when you see how fast those wide receivers go from pass-catching to blocking to spring their quarterback free on a long touchdown run, it is clear that they also thought about this aspect, and how it would help Justin Fields as well. The team is going to value this trait with all wide receiver prospects.