In the NFL the offensive line has three major jobs score touchdowns, score field goals and defend the quarterback, when any part of that equation falls apart so to does the chance that the team will make it to the playoffs let alone win a Super Bowl. That’s why it’s odd and perhaps even a little bit amusing that Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo on Thursday actually defended his teams horrendous offense.
To put the Bears offensive line into perspective, Jay Cutler was sacked last season a league high 52 times, while during the first two regular season games of 2011-2012 he has already been taken to the ground on 11 occasions while being hit 16 more times during the Saints game alone.
When asked what the team did to improve their offensive line this season Angelo responded:
“We did everything you could possibly do to that [offensive line] position,” while he went on to add, “Nobody did more than the Chicago Bears.”
Angelo was speaking directly about acquisitions made during the off-season including a 29th pick for Gabe Carimi who is out with a subluxation of the right kneecap. The Bears also secured Chris Spencer from the Seattle Seahawks after losing Olin Kreutz to the Saints. Spencer for his part couldn’t land a starting spot but ended up at right guard for the injured Lance Louis.
In a conversation with NFL.com Angelo said:
“We drafted a player in the first round,” and “We brought in a player with a lot of NFL experience who is still in his prime. We developed young players who are going into their second and third years, including another high draft pick in Chris Williams.
“We like our eight linemen. That’s not an issue. Injuries happen, and then you have to adjust accordingly. Everything bad that happened on Sunday wasn’t all because of poor offensive line play. Believe me when I tell you that. It was a collective failure. The defense and special teams share part of that as well. So let’s not beat up on the offensive line.”
Let’s be clear about something, the Chicago Bears defensive line only shares part of that blame because they spent so much more time on the field with Chicago’s defense playing 36:14 and the offense accounting for quick turnovers and lousy drives that placed the ball in Chicago hands just 23:46. If anything the 79-yard bomb from Brees to Devery Henderson was the biggest fault of the night by the defense and occurred during a moment of oversight, not during a night on unbalance.
In defending the Bears offensive line Angelo also failed to take into account the completely unbalance performance during Sunday’s game when Cutler threw 45 passes while only 12 rushing attempts were made. You can attempt to draft or sign as many players as possible but when you allow Cutler to drop back for passes and your line is completely incapable of stopping the defense you’re going to lose yards, end up with intentional grounding calls and place your opponents in a better position to score. Throw in the Bears inability to adjust for a rather constant blitz and attack game and it’s easy to see that their line is simply incapable of making quick decisions during game play.
In giving a half-answer for his team moving forward head coach Lovie Smith revealed:
“We want to protect him more,” while adding, “He took too many hits the other day. He acknowledged that, and we’re working on protecting him more.”
A 29th pick in the first round, losing Olin Kreutz who is now anchoring another team’s offensive line and an unbalanced rushing/passing game hardly seems like the type of offensive line that anyone should be publicly praising, especially with an average of 5.5 sacks on your QB only two games into the season.
In fact Martz admitted that the offensive game he conducted on Sunday was awful:
“If you’re looking for blame, just blame me. It was one of those things that happened. I did a poor job of coaching, and we didn’t play very good.’’
As I reported yesterday Jay Cutler isn’t sure the offensive line can protect him enough to finish out an entire season. When asked if he can play through the constant barrage of hits Cutler said:
“I don’t know,’ I don’t know.’’
I’ll say it again Jerry Angelo has done gone and lost his frickin mind if he thinks the Bears have everything they can to provide the best offense available to them. Heck they couldn’t even sign a “veteran” who could make the starting lineup, that hardly seems like the best they could do, especially after losing Olin Kreutz.
Do you think the Chicago Bears did everything they could to improve their offensive line over the off-season?