With all the negativity surrounding the Bears, and the 19 sacks they allowed in four games, one small ray of hope shines through a mucky preseason.
It’s a number and it could wind up being huge.
The point of the Mike Martz offense is to get the ball down the field in the passing game. Statisticians and any NFL geek who knows the game and isn’t buried in fantasy football knows that one of the most important NFL offensive statistics over the years is yards per pass attempt. It’s a team stat that shows how effective your overall passing attack has been and the top teams in this category are usually near the top of the league.
Last year the Chargers, Saints, Cowboys, Packers and Vikings all ranked in the top seven. Eight of the top 10 teams in this category made the playoffs and nine of the top 10 had winning records. There are always exceptions. For instance, the Giants were 27th in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl — but fifth among the 12 playoff teams during the post-season.
The Bears averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt in preseason. Only 10 teams had better averages.
Consider the following: Quarterbacks got sacked a league-high 19 times and yards lost on a sack counts against the overall yards per pass attempt. So obviously if they can find a way to successfully block pass rushers, it bodes well for their yards per attempt because they're getting a high average already without pass blocking well.
Also, Jay Cutler had a 7.4 yards per attempt average, Caleb Hanie 8.7 and Todd Collins 9.3. Anything above 7.0 is good and anything approaching 8.0 is excellent.
Rookie Dan LeFevour’s yards per attempt was 5.0 and he took about 37 percent of the pass attempts. He was cut and since wound up with Cincinnati, so his stats are fairly irrelevant for preseason.
So the quarterbacks they kept have an idea where the ball must go and the offensive scheme is achieving the desired numbers.
It’s a matter of blocking for the play, and if that somehow occurs then the small ray of hope could turn into bright, sunny days for the Bears attack.