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What to watch OL: Vikings @ Bears

 
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WindyCity


Joined: 26 Jun 2009
Posts: 9856
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: What to watch OL: Vikings @ Bears Reply with quote

This season for the Bears will very much so be effected by the continued improvement of the OL. The OL had a very nice day against a very good Bengals team, but we have seen strong opening weeks the last couple of seasons against Atlanta and Indianapolis.

In my continued coverage of the Bears OL I will look at what to watch from each OLmen so that you can better assess the performance of the line. This will be based on what was observed from the week prior.

Jermon Bushrod

-Can Jermon Bushrod continue to maintain good body position against another elite rusher in Jared Allen?

Bushrod saves himself in pass pro by forcing the rusher to work through his body. This is where J'Marcus Webb failed he never forced the rusher into his big body.

-Can Jermon Bushrod get movement in the run game going to the left?

The Bears need to be more physical especially in runs going to the left. I thought Bushrod was really nice coming down on the backside and picking up the backside LB, but we need movement heading left or we will have LBs flowing right at the snap. Bushrod has a lot of power and he needs to wear down Allen who is not a strong run player.

Matt Slauson

-Can Slauson continue his strong pass protection?

His technique is not beautiful, but he uses his long arms and his power to stun defenders and slow them down, which protects his average feet. On this line I thought he would be the weaker of the pass protecters, but he has been awesome in pass protection.

-Can Slauson drive the runs to the left side of the line?

I felt Slauson was better pulling to the right [Forte TD] and when he was coming down and doubling with Garza on runs to the right. I want to see if Bushrod and Slauson can physically open up some lanes on the left side. The big runs in the game came on quick hitters or plays to the right.

Roberto Garza

-Can Garza avoid the plays where he is completely blown off the ball or beaten quickly in pass protection?

A couple times a game he gets beat so cleanly that the play is over before it starts. These negative yard plays are drive enders and if we are expecting our rookies to have a couple of busts we cannot have them from our 13 year veteran Center.

-Can Garza continue to move the NT out of the run lane and keep them as a non-factor in the play by himself?

In the run game he did an excellent job of getting his hips around on the NT in 1 on 1 situations and a center that does not need a double team will improve the run game. The most important player to get blocked in zone running is the NT as they can press into the play side and they can sit and take away the cut back lane. If the NT can be handled without a double team it requires someone on the defense to make an exceptional play because lanes start to open up.

Kyle Long

-Can Kyle Long be physical and explosive why also slowing down?

Long moves too quickly and it causes him to miss players at the 2nd level and he misses blitzes. He is moving so quickly that he cannot redirect. On the 1st half hit he gave up to Dunlap he came down onto the NT with Garza so quickly he did not take a second to allow the rush to declare itself. Patience is a virtue on the OL and you need to be reactive to what is happening especially in the passing game. Long needs to resist the urge to explode into guys in the passing game and use his size and eyes tol be a much more effective pass blocker.

-Can Kyle Long continue to be strong in 1 on 1 pass blocks?

There was a number of plays where Long handled Geno Atkins 1 on 1 and while Kyle Williams is not as good as Atkins he is bigger and could be more physical. If your OGs can handle the DTs 1 on 1 it allows you to do so much like throw quick routes over the middle, step into deep throws, send more guys into the pattern, and help the OTs and shift and very protection schemes. The Bears have struggled in recent years with pressure up the middle and the front line being pushed back into the pocket and nothing destroys pass plays like pressure and push in the middle. When Long gets his hands on and his arms locked it is over and he stones the guy or takes him well wide of the pocket, he needs to continue to land his hands.

-Will the young guys show a little more awareness and communication?

A couple of times last week Long and Mills missed simple stunts and blitzes and a couple of times they let the DLmen off of a double team expecting the other to pick him up. These communication and awareness issues take time and experience to get past and I think this is where we will see the greatest improvement from these players. It also is exciting that they are growing together and could be playing beside each other for a decade or more.

Jordan Mills

-Can Jordan Mills improve on the backside cut off in the run game?

Mills is a powerful run blocker when you run at him and when you watch him and Kyle Long double team it is a thing of beauty. If Mills can get better at coming down and crossing the face of the 3 technique on his own that opens up a backside cut lane that leads to big yards. If the backside tackle can get past the 3 technique he can block the DT and DE by himself with his body position.

-Can Jordan Mills continue to use his hands well in the pass game and lock down a teamís 2nd DE?

One of your OTs needs to be able to win 1 on 1 reps in pass protection because you cannot afford to protect both OTs, see last couple of Bears seasons. If Mills can continue to block guys like Dunlap and Robison the Bears can focus on more elite rushers over Bushrod. Having a RT that can win these reps cleanly gives you so many options. Mills does an exceptional job with his hands, which means when a DE does get a nice rush they have to work through his arms and his body and that takes a ton of time. If you miss with your hands all the rusher needs to do is get past your body and that is easier when one guy is going backwards and the other is sprinting forward.

-Will the young guys show a little more awareness and communication?

A couple of times last week Long and Mills missed simple stunts and blitzes and a couple of times they let the DLmen off of a double team expecting the other to pick him up. These communication and awareness issues take time and experience to get past and I think this is where we will see the greatest improvement from these players. It also is exciting that they are growing together and could be playing beside each other for a decade or more.

Coaching

-Can the coaches continue to let the OL run block when it is not working?

This has nothing to do with needing balance or getting Forte going. This has everything to do with allowing the OL to move forward and be physical. It allows the OL not to be passive, which is required in pass pro, and allows them to be the aggressor and attack and wear on smaller and faster opponents. The commitment to the run is important to keep the OL battling if you do a Martz and go completely away from it the defense becomes the attackers; the OL is catching bull rushes all day and the defense can play fresh and fast.

-Will the coaches trust the OL in pass protection early?

I understand week 1 not wanting to channel your inner Martz or Tice and roll Cutler out with an unproven line, but the conservative, confidence building approach, almost cost the Bears the game. Now that we have seen that they can hang with a very good front it is time to start the game with the full call sheet. This is not saying Trestman cannot be smart in what he does to help the line with the likes of Allen, but the training wheels do not appear to be necessary.
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WindyCity


Joined: 26 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://nfl.si.com/2013/09/10/reggie-...?sct=obnetwork

A must read about the protection from the Bengals game.

It is below the Reggie Bush coverage.
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Nads786


Joined: 11 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great workup on the OL yet again. I found it very interesting, your take on allowing the OL to run block. Allowing them to attack, from a psychological perspective it makes perfect sense.

Nobody wants to be on the defensive each snap, you want to attack and run blocking allows this.
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WindyCity


Joined: 26 Jun 2009
Posts: 9856
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nads786 wrote:
Great workup on the OL yet again. I found it very interesting, your take on allowing the OL to run block. Allowing them to attack, from a psychological perspective it makes perfect sense.

Nobody wants to be on the defensive each snap, you want to attack and run blocking allows this.


This was my biggest issue with Martz and Tice.

The OL would be getting killed and the confidence was clearly taking a beating and they still had them kicking back and pass protecting.

At some point you need to get the arrow going the other direction.
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