Chicago Bears' Offensive Line Still a Work in Progress in Game vs. NY Giants

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24:   Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears gets rid of the ball as  Markus Kuhn #78 of the New York Giants pressures during a preseason game on August 24, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears continued to wrestle with the issue of their offensive line tonight against a fierce New York Giants pass rush, but they did not give up any sacks.

There was plenty of pressure, though, and that remains a concern, though not nearly as big a deal as during Mike Martz's seven-step drop days.

You can point to the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul as making things easier, and sure they did, but they still faced more than a few notable players.

I want to focus on the lack of sacks, though. More than anything, that is a huge concern both because they don't want Jay Cutler hurt and because Cutler cannot throw very well from his back.

Would they have given up a sack if Pierre-Paul was there? Maybe, but he wasn't, and they didn't.

That's the good news. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of bad news.

I already mentioned the constant pressure, and that's definitely cause for concern.

Too many times the pocket collapsed way too quickly. Cutler was getting the ball out fast, and the receivers did an admirable job getting their routes done quickly.

That and the short drops helped keep Cutler safe, but if he has to read through progressions too long or wait for a longer play to develop, it's going to catch up with them.

Also, as much as there are releases in place for the pressure during a pass play, the run game was hammered by the same pressure. There's just nowhere to go when the line looks like a sieve on a play. 

You can't shoot a gap if there is no gap to shoot.

That said, this line usually blocks very well on rushing plays, so it's not something I would be terribly concerned about. The offense looked off tonight in general, and I expect that to revert back to normal. 

So I expect the bad run blocking to be an outlier, not the standard. 

If we're talking offensive line, though, the biggest issue remains left tackle. 

You may be tired of hearing it—frankly I'm tired of talking about it—but good Lord.

J'Marcus Webb was blown up numerous times. I didn't even have to look for him—I just backtracked from the guy closest to Cutler. When Chris Williams came in, it was more of the same.

I can't get behind either of these guys as a left tackle (and don't think it'd be safe for me if I did), and when they collapse it seems to send the whole line reeling. 

It's a bit late to find a different solution, unless they move Gabe Carimi.

Carimi, by the way, was excellent. I continue to like what I see in him. Even if he remains on the right side, it will be good for Cutler to know one of his tackles can do his job.

The Giants are a tough match, yes. However, this is a team which will see more fierce pass rushes this season—in their own division with the Packers, Lions and Vikings, as well as in games against the Texans, Niners, Cowboys and Seahawks.

The sky isn't falling, even if it sounds like it coming from my keyboard. The line has to pick up their play and reduce the pressure, but the receivers and Cutler need to work on their timing as well.

It wasn't as sharp a performance as I'd hoped to see, but there was some improvement by most of the line, left tackle excluded. There is time to work the kinks out before they see the Colts in Week 1.


Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report! Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.