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Five Things I Wish the 2016 Bears Had (#3)

| September 1st, 2016

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#3 – A Sure Thing Offensive Tackle (For Protection)

Charles Leno Jr. is the left tackle and I believe was the most underrated player on the 2015 Chicago Bears. Is he a great player currently? No. Can he be great? Unless you come to that question with an agenda, there’s no way to answer it.

Bobby Massie is the right tackle and, well, he’s okay. Good run blocker. Slightly below average pass protector. Massie’s signing doesn’t prohibit the Bears from addressing the position next spring but the Bears believe pairing Massie with friend and workout partner Kyle Long will give them the power run game they desire.

Neither is a guarantee on third-and-seven. And in the NFL it is easy for offensive coordinators to cover up for one struggling tackle in pass protection. Trying to cover up for two puts the offense in a phone booth & limits any and all opportunities for explosiveness.

Remember, the 2016 Bears may not have this issue. I just wish the question wasn’t there.

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133 Comments

Across The Middle: Preseason Week Three

| August 24th, 2016

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Dennis Green: “Who the hell takes the third game in the preseason like it’s bullshit?”

Me: Raises hand.

I used to believe we could get something meaningful from the third preseason game. There are dozens of reasons why that’s wrong, but the strongest was one I realized just a month ago. It doesn’t mean anything to the players who aren’t fighting for jobs or coaches.

I challenge anyone to watch a regular season game, follow it with the third preseason game and try to tell me there isn’t a significant difference in the product. I did just that a month ago, choosing to re-watch the Bears’ third preseason game against the Bengals last year. It’s just a different game.

This is true for many of the same reasons why none of the preseason games matter. Maybe there’s more game-planning in the third preseason game. Maybe teams do a bit more schematically. Maybe. But it isn’t a lot and whatever it is they do isn’t done with the same urgency as the regular season simply because it doesn’t have to be.

The Bears have most of their starters figured out already. They know what they’re doing schematically. The practice and simulation of a game-like atmosphere should help them. But this is preseason. The coach won’t lose his job, neither will the starters. It’s a practice and should be treated as such.

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Bears Need Improved OL Play to Reach Potential

| July 6th, 2016

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The Bears have plenty of weapons at the skill positions and a terrific quarterback, but their offense won’t take a big step if their offensive line isn’t better than it was a year ago.

On paper, the Bears line should be significantly better. They lost Matt Slauson, but Kyle Long moving back to guard, combined with Cody Whitehair or Ted Larsen have to be better than Vlad Ducasse and whoever else they played last year. At his worst Bobby Massie was as good as Long was at tackle last year and, over the last 10 games last year, he was actually pretty good. Charles Leno Jr. and Hroniss Grasu should be better with experience.

But outside of Long, who should be expected to return to his stellar form at guard, there’s the possibility it all goes the other way.

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Pace Has Magical Opening Week of Free Agency

| March 13th, 2016

Free agency success does not often equate to the field. Frequently the team making the largest cash splash in March lands with a deadened thump come September and beyond. But what Bears GM Ryan Pace has achieved in the first week of free agency is nothing short of a miracle.

Go through the league. Every team. And find the most improved position groups. Outside of the Giants defensive line, whose makeover cost about three hundred zillion dollars, one could argue the two most significantly upgraded positions in the NFL are on the Chicago Bears roster at inside linebacker and right guard.

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Five Thoughts on Free Agency, Day One

| March 10th, 2016

It was an exciting opening of the league year for the Chicago Bears. And one thing is absolutely certain: they got better. Five thoughts…

  • The signings of Danny Trevathan and Bobby Massie mean the 2016 Bears will open the season significantly better at inside linebacker and right tackle. It also means they will see their most significant upgrade at right guard. Vlad Ducasse is horrible. Kyle Long is one of the best guards in the game.
  • There will be a lot of chatter about the money given to Tracy Porter but it won’t come from me. Porter is not a shut down corner but he had a solid 2015 and the Bears didn’t need to create another hole in a secondary full of them.

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Bears Sign Cardinals OT Bobby Massie, Move Kyle Long Back Inside

| March 9th, 2016

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Three thoughts:

  • Massie is a solid, professional tackle. He’s not elite but the Bears don’t necessarily need elite on the right edge.
  • I was excited earlier today thinking the Bears might sign Jeff Allen to play right guard. Instead they’ll start one of the best guards in the sports: Kyle Long.
  • Love that this Bears front office doesn’t run from roster deficiencies. Stubborn regimes of yesteryear would have kept Long outside and ignored a majority of the 2015 tape.

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