Chicago Sun-Times

Bears rank 25th in pass protection

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Assessing the effectiveness of pass protection is one of the most difficult things to determine in football. But Pro Football Focus has come up with a formula, and they ranked the Bears 25th out of 32 teams.

Their formula factored in everything from total pressure (a combination of sacks, hits and hurries) to the number of pass plays and the number of blockers per play.

The Bears were last in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers were just ahead of them, at No. 24, the Detroit Lions were 20th and the Minnesota Vikings were eighth.

Here is what PFF said about the Bears:

* "The Bears were one of the teams that had only a couple of guys play well, whilst the others struggled and left their offense dead in the water. The "couple of guys" in this case were center Olin Kreutz and right guard Roberto Garza, with the rest being various shades of poor. None was worse than Orlando Pace and it was a huge mistake believing he had much left in the tank (he didn't)."

* "Amazingly, as poor as a right tackle as Chris Williams was, he may end up being a success story if he can keep up his late-season form. Through the first 10 weeks of the season he was dreadful, giving up five sacks, eight hits and 24 hurries and throwing his hat in the ring as one of the worst pass protectors in the league. However, he did well against the Eagles in Week 11, did a reasonable job the next game (in Minnesota, of all places) and was then moved to left tackle to replace Pace, where he performed very creditably indeed."

* "Other players who have to step up their game are Matt Forte, who stayed in to block a league-leading 152 times but was among the top five worst pass-protecting backs last year (two sacks, a hit and 15 pressures); and Greg Olsen, who may be a decent receiver but struggles with all aspects of blocking. That has to be a huge concern considering the offense Mike Martz is expected to implement."

Here is the link to the analysis.

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This will come as no surprise for Bear fans. Cutler was lucky to survive without serious injuries. At least the coaching staff and management seem to have recognized the problem and took steps to try to eliminate it. A blocking tight end and back, with a line coach that knows what he's doing should help, but I think a major factor will be ball control in the short passing game. Two five-yard passes are as good as one ten-yarder and eats up more clock.Now if the defense can pull off occasional three and outs, which they were worfully unable to do last year, maybe the Bears will actually resemble a professional team this year.

With an over-the-hill HOF LT in O. Pace, an OT forced into a position he'd never played before (F. Omiyale), and an ailing O. Kreutz, it's no wonder the O-line protection was mostly (90%) "woeful".

152 times in for blocking but yet only gave up 2 sacks. He was the top 5 worst back in the NFL at blocking? AVG. that out and he did a heck of a job. The Bears again on defence were on top of the NFL in blitzing. Well I think the Bears were the most Blitzed team in the NFL. Teams went after Cutler knowing he was proned to mistakes. Ala keep Mat Forte into block. I also recall Forte being on the field for more then 75 percent of the plays. Who else in the NFL as a running back stayed in for more then a hundred+ plays to Block?

Can we disregard the story by Jensen and Jaworski reporting that the offensive line didn't contribute to any of Cutler's interceptions? It's just too ridiculous to believe.

Sean what are you talking about the Greg Olsen will take Pepsi challenge against any blocker in the league, nah the universe.

I can't believe the Bears ranked all the way in the top 25, I thought top 28 at best. Packers were on their way down but their line pulled it together the last third of the season. But at least we know we where worse than the Packers at something else, that's.....just great.

Just to point something out that everyone may want to take notice. I like Mike Tice as an interview, I like what he does with run blocking. But I did mention he is not much for pass blocking. Anyone see where the Jags ranked last year in pass protection? 31ST, so not dead last, just first to last. Just thought you may all want to think about that. I have been saying he and Martz will have problem and that the pass blocking schemes are not what Tice does well. Olin and Garza where the best players on the line last year but neither was a dominant player. Sea by the way was top 10, they just can't block, a lot of that was do to Sims who probably would have fit the Bears new passing scheme really well. Olin was decent but was ranked 16th among centers his pass blocking being among the best in terms of centers, his run blocking being 23rd. Garza ranked 18th which in terms of guards is higher than Olin was rated, but again his run blocking was ranked 47th. Chris Williams was ranked 65th among tackles, his run blocking was ranked 51st and his pass blocking was ranked 64th. So a guy who was suppose to be good at pass blocking and bad at run blocking was actually really bad at both. 3 of his last 7 games he posted average pass blocking numbers, those would be his best games of the year, but his last game against detroit saw his pass blocking slip again, his best game of the year came against GB when he posted mediocre numbers, if he where to continue to play at his best he would be ranked the 28th best tackle in the league and thats taking his best game of the year and multiplying it by 16. Not having one bad game.

Anyway can't wait to see where the Bears rate in terms of run blocking. You can be bad at pass blocking and get by with run blocking and vice versa. But you usually can't be bad at both and win games very often. I believe they where around 20th in run blocking, just bellow the Packers. If the Packers pass protection hadn't turned around they would have not made the playoffs.

Yeah, and its really sad how some fans still berate Cutler as the cause of Ints. The TE we picked up will help alot! As will Taylor, who might just end up playing as much as Forte. Our new Offense play calls will help as well, its nice the Bears actually did something to fix our worst area but we need that LOG badly.
Surprised Olin was rated high and Garza.
Williams did come on late, He should get alot of help from TE this year as should the RB pass blocker, so we can only improve in that area.

Hey Creighton. Tice coached tight ends last year. I expect better from someone who comments so much.


I don't think it's fair for your misrepresent the story I did with Jaworski in January.

We didn't give the o-line a pass. Instead, we noted that protection wasn't overwhelmingly the issue, based on film of each and every one of Cutler's interceptions. That was surprising to both Ron and I.

Was the pass blocking a n issue? Absolutely.

But, Ron pointed out Cutler's issues with technique, his penchant for forcing the ball and miscommunication with receivers as being problems, too.

Anyways, just thought I'd clarify that.

Didn't give the o-line a pass? Not overwhelmingly the issue? You said they weren't an issue at all, at least not for the 26 interceptions.

"The most startling revelation: pass protection wasn't to blame for any of the interceptions. The Bears' offensive line had issues, just not on these 26 plays." - Sean Jensen

It was a ridiculous statement then, it's more ridiculous now that you're citing PFF stating the Bears rank 25th in pass protection.

Not surprising at all. Actually all those that have been bashing Kruetz may consider giving the guy a second chance this year given the injury and the fact that Kruetz is the undisputed leader of the O line with clearly no one on the line ready to take over that role and the Bears do not have a proven replacement for Kruetz yet.

Williams could be decent at LOT certainly better than on the right side and Garza still seems to be a servicable ROG. Still a lot of work to do on the offensive line, we will see what the 3 brainiacs in Phillips, Angelo and Lovie Dovie have in store for us this year on the O line. The LOG has got to be filled with talent with Omilyale probably decent at ROT instead of LO guard.

Despite the fact the Bears sucked and allowed way too much pressure on Cutler, lets not crown Cutler as the best of all time until he starts to show his ability to manage a game better, not throw into pressure when there are other reads open, leads comebacks to win and is making consistent leadership decisions like the best in the NFL like Brees and P Manning.

When that happens and the Bears win it all then he may be the QB legend we all hope he will be.

Sean, thanks for the link, don't worry about Adam. Sean, I noticed that at the top of all your blogs, your name is misspelled as "Jensenon." For example, at the top of today's page, it reads:

By Sean Jensenon April 12, 2010 9:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0)

You better check that out.

@ Adam on April 12, 2010 3:20 PM

Adam, I totally agree with you. ..... I remember the "Interception Article" vividly.

This article just doesn't jibe with it.

I didn't need to go over the statistics with a magnifying glass to observe several points:

1) Cutler didn't seem comfortable with the passing game from the beginning of the season.

2) He quickly realized that the protection wasn't worth a damn, and the receivers didn't know what in the heck they were doing.

3) He couldn't do anything about the protection, ... but he did let it be known who his choices for receivers were.

4) When the coaching staff, in their infinite wisdom, ignored him, ..... he probably figured, "The coaches didn't know what THEY were doing either." ..... Thus you could see it in his body language.

5) And Cutler, then, gets tagged with a "bad attitude".

6) I was amazed at the "Interception Article", when I SAW a few receivers break off their routes, run into coverage instead of away from it, and/or not fight for the ball. (As well as several blown blocking assignments.)

7) I give Cutler a lot of credit with sticking in there, in spite of all of the above nonsense. (And probably MORE nonsense that we don't even know about.)

I don't mean to belittle Forte and Wolfe, but neither one was much good against defensive ends or charging defensive tackles. Of course there are not very many running backs who are. Tight ends and big running backs can make a big difference, and maybe we will see that this year.

This metric is pretty accurate in my opinion. For the most part the Bear's O-line sucked.

OK, having said that I do have a couple disagreements. First, even that was too light on Forte. Forte is a good receiver, but a terrible pass blocker. He has to be the worst chip blocker in the league. On most attempted chip blocks it would have better had he not been there. He would act like he was going to throw a chip, but would give it the bullfighter ole' treatment. The tackle, who was expecting help on the outside, would then get beat on the edge. Had Forte not been there the tackle would have at least known he was on his own. He wasn't much better with blitzing linebackers. I'm guessing he will improve drastically this year, or spend a lot of time watching Chester Taylor play on passing downs.

However I think they were too hard on Williams. Williams was supposed to be the new-be on that line, but never treated as such. He missed blocks paying the price of all the stunts run to exploit Omiyale and Forte. Not to mention the fact that they had to slide the coverage toward Pace to have any chance of success. Lots of times that he missed blocks it looked to me like confusion, not lack of ability. Had he been playing on an established line, he would have been OK.

Not sure the last post made it....

agree ms
I saw Forte do a slip block and really let the man slip by him, brush??
But if you think about the fact a QB needs confidence Sean, I mean, try concentrating on the play knowing if you dont get rid of the ball your gonna get clobbered hard. That leads to mental pressure, which leads to mistakes, I saw Cutler get hit hard alot. He can scramble, but our blocking I still feel led to alot of Int. Yes I saw Cutler throw bad passes as well. But having no confidence in the Oline leads to QB mistakes as well.
And yeah, the run blocking? The entire scheme/play/execution was bad.
I feel we cant be worse this year though :P
Williams will be in his correct posaition.

The Original Bill just nailed it. You are the man on this page. It wasn't Cutler last year> It was the coaching, and they pretty much hung the former Pro Bowler out there in the wind to take a beating - physically and psychologically. Remember Cutler worked under Shanahan - one of the best in the NFL, then he comes here and look what he got for coaching. How often are the terms imaginative and/or brilliant offensive mind linked with Ron Turner (let alone Smith). Any of you guys pay close attention to how many quality coaches snubbed this team back in January? And to think Rex Ryan is in New York, Ron Rivera is in San Diego, Singletary's in SF, and Leslie Frazier's a Viking. All the Jay Cutlers and Julius Peppers in the world won't make any difference at all until this team can get some quality sideline leadership. To think otherwise is just pretense. Maybe Martz, Tice, and Marinelli are the answers... guess we will just have to observe this new situation... but as far as this team performed last year, it is not and never was Jay Cutler. -LH

I like to say, thanks to Harrington and all who saw it wasn't all, Cutler's fault.... I don't care what anyone or anybody says, Jay Cutler is a very Good QB , now lets get behind him and Our Bears..... GO BEARS!

I remember the INT article (and wathced many of the games) to say that a few (more than they talked about) mistakes made by the receivers. They would change a route just a Cutler was throwing the ball. I had seen that 4 or 5 times. Other times where the receiver didn't fight for the ball and seemed to let the DB make the catch. Yes Cutler did make some bad throws as well but only about half of the total ints should have been blamed on Cutler.

Hey Illini guess what? Tice just didn't work with the TE's ask Sean he does have his ask the writer blog up. He was the TE coach and Asst Head Coach, and as Tice stated, he worked directly with Andy Heck and the offensive line. In fact he bragged about it and was thrilled to be doing it again. Now I expect someone who comments on my posts to actually have a clue about what they are talking about before they speak to me. Next time you post something like that and address to me do your research first. Or at least read on of the many Tice articles that have been written sense he was hired.

I have to give you the amature hour call on your post, sorry but it was a weak attempt to discredit what I wrote and what is fact. Plain and simple, Tice helped coach the offensive line for the Jags and admits to it.

See Tripper your post is a perfect example of why you don't get it. Belive it or not PFF does count the number of times a guy stays into block and takes in the percentage. Now if you watched a game last year it was pretty clear Forte was lousy at blocking second once again you ignore pressures and hits. You can only see sacks the most overrated stat in the NFL according to most nfl coaches. You don;t take into account the fact that they incliude plays that FOrte was helping on, had help on, blown assingnment, missed block, blocking the wrong guy. As for your question, Forte lead the league in blocking attempts at 152 times. The question isn't why is he bad at blocking, the questions should be why was he left in to block. The Answer is, Olsen can't block at H-back, and they do not have a legit blocking RB type or FB type. Also when you go two TE as much as the Bears did last year then your back is going to be asked to block more. Neither Olsen or Clark is a good blocker, Clark is better than Olsen but not good. Basically PFF was just saying the Bears where bad at blocking on all three levels. I am pretty sure if you ask Forte if he would like to sit in and block he would tell you no. But TE sets to make up for the weak recievers meant Forte had to block more. Thats why the Bears got Martz what he wanted. A legit blocking TE, and a FB/H-Back who could block. Oh and RB to replace Forte as the starter sense he wasn't very good at running either. Yes believe it or not their are a lot of players on the Bears who are bad, this would probably explain the lack of playoffs the last 3 years. By the way Orlando Pace only gave up 1 sack last year in 675 attempts, do you want him starting for the Bears next year? According to your thinking he only gave up 1 sack in 675 snaps he must be amazing.

Im sure Creighton was rambling on about my post named Timmer.

Creighton to break it down. Forte was in on 152 plays to block.
2 sacks+ 1 QB hit+ 15 pressures= 18 times that Forte had released or whiffed on a block. That averges 8.44% of the time (out of a 100%) Forte failed. I will take a 8.44% chance of fail rate and be comfortable.

I agree with Bill and the other posters who realize that Cutler deserves little if any of the blame for most of the INTs last season, or for the offense's failures in general. Bill's comment really nailed it, he articulated very well what I'd been thinking. I also remember the Jaworski article and thought it was idiotic. Considering the level he played at and the time he spends studying film, sometimes Jaworski seems clueless.

I'm surprised about Orlando Pace. While he certainly didn't have a good season, most of the times I watched him he did pretty well. However, I don't watch the tackles very often, it's just not my favorite thing and is not as important as the middle of the line.

Jay Cutler is a perfect example of why you cannot just buy a championship. Bringing a top player to a bad football team does not necessarily improve the team; instead, it can ruin the player, and that's what happened to Cutler last season. It's also why I have no confidence that Julius Peppers will be of much help, especially after the jerks who own & run the team cut Alex Brown and have done nothing to improve the tackle position, aside from hoping that Tommie Harris will somehow get back to his old form. Of course I hope I'm wrong, but I don't expect more than 6 or 7 wins this season. If I'm right, that would at least be the end of some of the three stooges.

Cutler was not on the field when the defense gave up 3rd down over and over again. This was the worst bears defense I ever saw.
And I disagree with Jaworski on Cutler's interceptions. There certainly were a lot of incomplete run routes.

The commenters above make some great points - regardless of Cutler's "ability" (the jury is still out on that one), the team wasn't going anywhere. That's why I didn't like the trade in the first place - swapping starting quarterbacks but ALSO giving up any chance at rebuilding and a future? Bad idea. Time to get some of that talent back while they still can.


The jury is not "out" on Jay Cutler. He's a much, much better QB than Kyle Orton, no doubt about it. And I'm not an Orton basher, I like him and think that he's good enough to take a team to the Super Bowl if given good enough players and a good enough system around him. But Cutler is one of the top QBs in the league, and everyone saw what Cutler is capable of when he gets decent players around him. The problem with him & the Bears is that the Bears had absolutely nothing else on offense, and no QB can do it by himself.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on April 12, 2010 9:58 AM.

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