Bears-Browns Week Eight Preview: Offensive Line Key to Chicago's Chances
Lovie Smith and Co. look to bounce back against the lowly Cleveland Browns.
If the Bears' offensive line isn’t going to get the job done, then the rest of the offense needs to figure out ways to be productive without their help.
It won’t be easy, but the most common way to avoid the rush and create opportunities is to utilize the “West Coast” style of offense: short passes to the backs and receivers for five and six-yard gains.
Without the line, the running game will continue to suffer. Perhaps Ron Turner, the Bears' offensive coordinator, can cook up some misdirection plays to help create opportunities for Matt Forte.
Otherwise Forte will have defenders in his face in the backfield per the trend thus far this season.
Keep an eye on Shaun Rogers—he’s a big nose tackle who’s given the Bears trouble in the past.
While Tommie Harris hasn’t exactly produced, I’ve always believed that if a D-lineman draws a double team, then that’s a positive for the rest of the guys on the line.
They felt Harris' absence against the Bengals, as there was no pressure put on Carson Palmer, who proceeded to carve up the Bears into little pathetic chunks of pathetic Cubs.
I think the linebacking corps has performed well despite having tons of injuries. Lance Briggs continues to play like a Pro Bowler, but with both the D-line and secondary exposed, it limits his ability to make plays.
While the Browns don’t have a passer of Palmer's caliber, both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are capable of throwing the ball even if the rest of their team is less than desirable.
Getting back to the basics and maintaining gap discipline will be a huge step forward in rebounding from the embarrassing loss to the Bengals.
Players to Watch
The offensive line has played poorly, and Kreutz is the leader of the line. He must be the one to lead the turnaround.
The line hasn’t given him any help, but he’s the one carrying the ball. I’m not saying he should force the issue, but if the line isn’t opening up the running lanes, Forte needs to show some fire and make something happen.
We have to see how Cutler responds if the offensive line continues to play poorly. If he’s constantly under fire, he’ll have to go to quick reads and read the pressure accurately.
Key to the Game
Line of scrimmage
Losing the battle off the snap has cost the Bears the past two games. What has me worried is the fact that the offensive line in particular just seem to be outplayed on every other snap, allowing pressure without blitzers and being flat-out unable to open holes for the running game.
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