2015 Chicago Bears Grades: Offensive line struggles hurt Bears
2015 Chicago Bears Grades
As the Chicago Bears continue to pick up the pieces from their 6-10 season, it’s time to assess how the offensive line preformed and where the Bears can improve on the offensive line for 2016. We’ll start on the left side and then finish off with the ride side of the line.
Jermon Bushrod — Bushrod signed with the Bears as a free agent in 2013 from New Orleans and had solid 2013 and 2014 seasons with 30 starts. The 2015 campaign for Jermon Bushrod was one filled with disappointment and injury. He battled a bad back from the outset of training camp and never fully healed. He started the first three games of the season, and suffered a concussion in Seattle.
He ultimately lost his starting job to Charles Leno, he did however dress for the last 9 games of the season and got some playing time as a sixth lineman/extra tight end. Bushrod remained a true professional despite the obstacles he faced, supporting Leno and the rest of his Bears teammates. While its looking highly unlikely Bushrod will be back next season as a Chicago Bear, due to his $8.7M salary, the Bears can save $4.3M in salary cap space by releasing him.
Charles Leno — Leno had a rough training camp and preseason when he started at right tackle against the Bengals, but the Bears’ confidence in him never waivered. With offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s mantra “progression, not perfection” Leno preformed admirably in the 12 games he started at left tackle following Bushrod’s injury.
Granted he received chipping help from Martellus Bennett and Bears running backs, but the majority of plays Leno used solid technique and rarely got embarrassed. Leno should be part of the Bears competition for one the two tackle jobs presumably open for 2016.
Matt Slauson — After signing a 3 year, $14M contract in 2014, Slauson battled a myriad of injuries in 2014, ending on injured reserve. 2015 was a different year for Slauson, as he was the only player on the offensive line to play every snap this season and was really the utility guy for the Bears.
After center Will Montgomery went down, Slauson stepped in and played the position briefly before returning to left guard. He also received a start when backup center Grasu was injured for the last game of the year. He was a model of professionalism in the locker room, and barring injury is likely to maintain his starting left guard spot and leadership position in the locker room.
Patrick Omameh (Also played at RG) — Omameh was acquired from free agency after Tampa Bay released him in final cuts in 2015. As a late addition, he didn’t start his first game as a Bear until week 4 against Oakland. He appeared in 14 games this season and started in 9. He preformed admirably and serviceably, and only had three holding penalties on the season. While Omameh’s future on the Bears may be in doubt for 2016, he preformed well and earned a role as a backup/spot starter somewhere next year.
Will Montgomery– Montgomery signed with the Bears for a league minimum contract in 2015. As a player familiar with Adam Gase and John Fox, Montgomery provided steady play in his 4 starts. His season ended against Oakland on the first drive with a gruesome leg injury. Unless he wants to settle for a backup role or switch to guard, he probably won’t be a Chicago Bear next season.
Horniss Grasu– Grasu was the Bears third round draft pick in 2015. This was supposed to be a red-shirt year for Grasu with him focusing on building strength and developing the skills needed to be an effective center in the NFL. Unfortunately for him, week 5 provided him his first start against a talented Chiefs defensive front seven. After being pushed around, and ultimately responsible for a Cutler fumble against Kansas City, Grasu settled in nicely throughout the season. He
Vladamir Duccasse- Duccasse signed with the Bears for a league minimum contract in 2015. He was responsible for 8 penalties on the season and 11 starts. It’s likely he won’t be back with the Bears as a starter, however he may remain as a backup somewhere else in the league.
Kyle Long One of the few draft picks that Phil Emery was successful with, it was widely expected that Kyle Long would continue his pro-bowl trajectory this season. Things changed a week before the season started however with Long moving from his right guard spot to right tackle.
Long made great strides throughout the year improving his consistency and technique, however there were times that Long looked lost on the field and overmatched at times. Long said that he will be a tackle again next year, and there are a few people who believe that Long will be the left tackle of the future.
Overall, the Bears offensive line was serviceable throughout the year, however they will be looking for potentially two different starters on the offensive line for next year. I would give this group a solid “C” grade based upon their potential and their actual production on the field.