Bears zone run blocking is biggest key to success in 2016
The Chicago BearsBears have made a lot of upgrades this off-season.
Every legitimate analysis was extremely favorable to the Bears moves in the veteran free agency, the NFL draft, And with their priority rookie free agents as well. The ones who were not favorable to the Bears were obviously trolling Bear fans for clicks with click bait headlines.
The Bears have really done a great job on the defensive side of the ball re-enforcing the middle of their defense as well as adding speed and athleticism on the outside and adding ball skilled defensive backs.
Defense certainly will be a key to how well the Bears do this season.
They also improved their special teams with the same depth moves they made in the draft and free agency adding many experienced players who played and excelled on special teams with their former teams. This along with an extra season in the system will surely improve the teams record by providing excellent field position, scoring PAT’s and FG’s, Blocking kicks and preventing long returns and making opposing defenses have to go as far as possible to score.
However nothing will determine the Bears success or it’s failure more than how the Bears execute their zone run blocking scheme. Under the direction of Dave Magazu and an impressive roster of athletes on the offensive line the Bears appear to be set up for success with their running game.
They clearly made it a priority for restructure by upgrading 3 out of the 5 positions, as well as showing the confidence in their two young linemen at center and left Tackle in the forms of Hroniss Grasu and Charles Leno jr.
Magazu has been John Foxes offensive line coach since 2007 with Carolina and followed him to Denver and now with the Bears. In that time Magazu’s line’s ranked typically just outside of the top ten.
Profootballfocus.com has his lines ranked at 11.5 best on average over his tenure as offensive line coach. they actually have his lines ranked higher in pass pro over run locking despite the reputation of John Fox being a run first offensive team. However what they always did well and the obvious goal here is to get to the second level.
With the athletes they assembled and the guys they moved out since Fox has been here clearly they’re looking for more foot speed and athleticism to get to the second level to free up big yard producing runs.
And why wouldn’t they?
With guys like Kyle Long, Grasu, and rookie Cody Whitehair they have one of the best up and coming interior offensive lines in football. Add in an extremely athletic left tackle in Leno you can definitely spring some long runs by putting hats on LB’s and DB’s. Massie not known for his athletic ability still can get it done in the run game excelling there in Arizona.
It’s clear the Bears are trying to build their future core on the line too with a very young Offensive line. Long is 27, Grasu 24, Leno and Whitehair 22, and Massie still only 26. Takes years for a line to gel like a finely tuned machine ad it appears that they have the years to do just that.
There is still a lot of uncertainty for Bears fans about this offensive line. Particularly with that of Grasu and Leno. However the belief of this proven staff along should give the Bears more of a sense of optimism than there obviously is. So sit back and relax and watch the run game closely as you will see large masses of humans moving gracefully and swiftly into the second level of the defense laying out would be tacklers for big gains in the run game.
As go the running will go the Chicago Bears.