Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Aug 2010

Bear's Offensive Line

The penciled in starters for the line this year, from left to right, are Chris Williams, Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Lance Louis, and Frank Omiyale.

This means compared to the end of last year, we have 3 players either new to the line or new to their position, with Garza moving from right to left, Louis being promoted, and Omiyale moving from left guard to right tackle. Compared to the begining of last year, we have 4 new players or players playing a new position as Chris Williams started at right tackle. Olin Kreutz is the only member of the line to have played his position for last 12 months.

Also, Frank Omiyale has been struggling with false starts in practice, I can only imagine what that will mean for game time. Mike Tice said that Kevin Shaffer got the 2nd highest grade from him when he reviewed last years tape, but he got demoted for Omiyale for some reason.

The line has the potential to quite bad for the 2nd year in a row. Sigh.

Posted by: tuluse on 12 Aug 2010

8 replies , Last at 07 Oct 2010, 4:46pm by tuluse

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by Jimmy :: Fri, 08/13/2010 - 11:51am

If there is hope for improvement it is that Tice should (in theory) ensure at least a basic level of competence that was missing last year. I was never all that much of a fan of Heistand's blocking scheme, it was too finessed and didn't focus enough on moving guys backwards. Even when the Bears had a good line (ie Tait, Brown, Kreutz, Garza and Miller before he got too old) they never got a massive push and from what I have read the focus was more on position blocking. The only reason Heistand ever got a job in the NFL was down to him being Ron Turner's pet monkey, Tice has been a good line coach and a head coach in the league.

The other factor that should help is that I rate Martz far more highly than Turner. Yes Mad Mike has his faults but he is replacing Ron Turner, pretty much an automatic improvement. Teams will have to defend the whole field against the Bears next year come hell or high water; I like this as I think it is how the game should be played.

As for the personnel the current bunch of starters are the same as I thought they would end up with six months ago and I wasn't all that bothered then. Williams should be better, I think Omiyale should play tackle better than guard (although this is not hard) and Louis was supposed to be a developmental player and may have developed. Kreutz will be Kreutz and Garza will be Garza. From LT to C I don't really have a problem, there are plenty of teams in the league with worse. Yes there are a lot of question marks there but there is some potential. There should be some improvement around the edges too; Manemaleuna at TE, better blocking from Taylor than from Wolfe and Bell, even Olsen being asked to use his size in space as opposed to getting plowed under blocking in line.

Maybe it is simply that it is still August and my navy and orange spectacles are still firmly on, or maybe it is that there does at least seem to be a plan for offense.

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by tuluse :: Sat, 08/14/2010 - 1:41am

Well there is always hope. Really my main problem is Omiyale. It's criminal to start a player who apparently has so little idea of what he's doing in front of your shiny new franchise quarterback.

I do find it odd that Garza moved to the other side of the line. Although, I suppose that could be spun as Tice mixing things up and not letting players rest on their laurels (such as they are). Or maybe it is a plan to at least have half the line playing probably average, so Cutler will just have to run for his life one direction every play.

Edit: I also didn't really know that about Heistand, but it makes sense. He seemed to work much better with veterans and prefer them.

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by Dan :: Sat, 08/14/2010 - 5:04pm

I think they could be close to average. Last year they would've been a lot less awful if they'd just started the season with (left to right) Williams, Beekman, Kreutz, Garza, and Shaffer. Beekman, Kreutz, and Garza were all adequate or better, and Williams looked okay at LT (where he's used to playing) after struggling at RT.

Louis starting over Beekman is hopefully a sign that Louis has looked good, since Beekman has been consistently decent for the past few years. I think they flipped him over to RG because they like Louis more than Garza as a run blocker.

Omiyale is the big question. Last year I think the big problem was that they put him into the starting lineup at a new position before he was ready, when it was clear than Beekman was outplaying him in the preseason. He didn't look so bad (to me or to the PFF graders) once he came back from his benching, over the last six weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like they might be making the same mistake again putting him out there at right tackle. If he struggles, hopefully they will be much quicker to pull him this year and give Shaffer a shot.

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by Ken (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:10pm

The simple tell-tale fact that shows just what sort of offensive line the Bears have is this: Jay Cutler was in Denver and was thought to be pretty good. Kyle Orton was in Chicago and was mediocre. So they traded QB's, with Chicago throwing in high draft choices to make up for what was supposed to be a difference in quality. Suddenly Orton looks like a quality QB and Cutler looks like a hack. Duhhh...maybe it's a lot easier to look good behind Denver's offensive line than behind Chicago's?

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by tuluse :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:51pm

This seems like a non-sequitur to everything written in this thread.

Do you have a point beyond good offensive lines make QBs look good?

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by tally :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 10:38am

Because Cutler's performance had nothing to do with the relative difference in receiving talent.

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by Zheng :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 2:56am

So here we are after the week 4 sackfest at the Giants, and I think we can now say with a high degree of certainty that the Bears' offensive line is made of suck.

Re: Bear's Offensive Line
by tuluse :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:46pm

Yeah. I think the injury to Chris Williams hurt a lot. It has lead to the right tackle position being manned by committee, which has yielded predictable results.

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