Chicago Bears: 3 Ways to Improve the Bears' Offensive Line
A while back, the topic of how the Chicago Bears could provide easy fixes to the offensive line was discussed. The situation still hasn't resolved itself. New offensive coordinator Mike Tice will have to implement a variety of methods to get this line up to speed come Week 1.
Improving the personnel is not really an option at this point. The team has to work with what they got, but that does not mean they have to be a complete failure. Here are three important fixes the Bears can make to their offensive line.
Allow Cutler to Read the Defense
It's very possible Jay Cutler can be the offensive line's best friend. In Mike Martz's system, Cutler rarely was given the freedom to check out of a play. Therefore, if the play did not match up well against the defense's scheme, it was Cutler and the offensive line who payed the price.
With new coordinator Mike Tice at the helm, he will more than likely give his quarterback the ability to put his team in the right position. Cutler's ability to use his cerebral instincts can help a struggling offensive line. Not only will he put his team in the best position by calling the right audibles, he will do what it takes to provide quality play without getting himself knocked to the deck.
The best quarterbacks in the league have full command of an offense and its playbook. Look for Cutler to be a part of that group this season.
Give Help to Those Who Need It
It didn't take much for even the most casual fan to recognize a guy like J'Marcus Webb struggle in one on one coverage. What was more frustrating was the lack of help he got. Too many times Mike Martz would have an extra wide receiver on the field instead of another back or tight end to chip block. While he eventually did get some help, it just wasn't enough over the course of the season.
One good thing about the Bears' new assortment of weapons is they no longer have to overload receivers on the field just to pick up a first down. Three receivers should be enough to allow an extra back or tight end to help a guy like Webb. Brandon Marshall is not Roy Williams. He doesn't need an extended period of time to get open.
Even the best teams and the best offensive lines give a large assortment of help to their tackles. There are way too many quality pass-rushers in this league not to. Mike Tice will not make the stubborn mistake of Martz; he will give his lineman a ton of help allowing them to improve on the pass protection.
Mix Up the Play-Calling
When a defense knows what you are going to do, there is nothing your mediocre offensive line can do to stop them. You have to keep a defense off balanced with intricate play-calling.
It's pretty clear that this has turned into a Mike Martz bash session. His stubborn ways got his offensive line beat and his quarterback hit way too many times. He refused to use the weapons on offense to their strengths and often stuck with the same mundane schemes because of pure arrogance.
The bright spot is in Mike Tice. He was the head coach of a Minnesota Vikings team who loved to mix up the play-calling, utilize tight ends and throw deep on early downs in an effort to keep a defense off balance. The Bears now have a wide variety in their arsenal to be able to dig deep into the playbook at anytime.
Showing range in your play-calling while staying in a disciplined format will help the offensive line. The Bears will be able to move the chains better and stay out of third-and-long situations.