OL Breakdown: Bears @ Redskins

During the bye week I thought I would check back in with the Bears OL and see how they are progressing to this point. Much has been made of the recent Pro Football Focus grade handed to Jordan Mills ranking him as the 73rd OT in the NFL. I am interested to see how the group is working as a unit.

I looked at drives by both Cutler and McCown.

[++], exceptional block that has a positive impact on the play.
[+], solid block that has a positive impact on the play.
[/], mediocre block that does not have a negative impact on the play.
[-], poor block that has a negative impact on the play.
[–], very poor block that is the direct cause of the play being unsuccessful or getting the QB hit.

Drive 1

Play 1: Pass to Jeffery [Incomplete]

Bushrod [+]: Takes away Orakpo’s initial speed rush and he drops with the RB.
Slauson [+]: Very good initial punch and forces the DT to restart his feet and lose momentum, but his upper body leans late and the DT swims off.
Garza [/]: Double teams the NT with Long, but needs to be more aware that his LG needs late help.
Long [+]: Strong double team and could technique.
Mills [++]: Great body position, base and hand use stones Kerrigan and gives a clean pocket even if the pass play would have taken longer.

Play 2: Run Left [0 Yards]

Bushrod [/]: Strong double team gets movement and gets to the 2nd level, needs to finish at the 2nd level.
Slauson [+]: Strong double team initially, but could stay on DE better.
Garza [–]: Cofield stacks and sheds him easily and makes the play from the NT position.
Long [+]: Turns the DT outside and rides him up field.
Mills [+]: Turns the DE outside and keeps him from the play.

Play 3: Pass to Jeffery [Incomplete]

Bushrod [+]: Zone drop from Orakpo leaves Bushrod free, he stays square and picks up Bowen looping outside good assignment discipline.
Slauson [+]: Good job not chasing the looper and picking up the blitzing LB coming behind the loop.
Garza [+]: Nice job getting the middle of the line organized on the walk around blitz.
Long [+]: Good job crashing the walk around blitz into the middle.
Mills [–]: Misses the delayed DB blitz and stands around doing nothing.

Drive 2

Play 4: Pass Complete to Marshall [13 Yards]

Bushrod [+]: Good body position and kick slide gives Bowen nothing to rush at.
Slauson [/]: They end up triple teaming a NT while a RB us forced to pick up a blitzer, which may be the call, but it looks like too much.
Garza [/]: They end up triple teaming a NT while a RB us forced to pick up a blitzer, which may be the call, but it looks like too much.
Long [/]: They end up triple teaming a NT while a RB us forced to pick up a blitzer, which may be the call, but it looks like too much.
Mills [/]: Blocks down on the DE, but he does not get his hips inside and is pressed into the backfield a little.

Play 5: Pass to M. Bennett [Incomplete]

Bushrod [–]: Lunges out at Orakpo and is in a bad position/angle and is beat for a QB hit. You cannot sacrifice protection to execute the play action fake.
Slauson [+]: Picks up the twist well, but when the DT jumps should do something, cut, hold down, punch in the stomach to keep him out of the throwing lane.
Garza [+]: God job passing the twist to Slauson and getting some depth, but could be more physical to not allow penetration.
Long [++]: This is a textbook block with great hand position and extension.
Mills [-]: Swoops his feet, which means instead of the outside foot kicking first to gain ground and keep a wide base, the inside foot kicks first and you end up standing up and not moving with your first step.

Play 6: Jeffery Reverse [7 Yards]

Bushrod [++]: Exceptional job walling off the LB and mirroring him up field as he tries to recover to the play.
Slauson [++]: Crushes the defender down 5 yards pass were they started and finish with violence into the pile.
Garza [+]: Takes the NT with the fake and finishes the block.
Long [-]: Seems assignment confused and has a tough angle, but does not get to his LB and his false steps kill him.
Mills [+]: Walls Kerrigan off.

Play 7: Pass to Marshall [Incomplete]

Bushrod [++]: Nice job of sweeping the defenders hands off of him and knocking the off balance defender to the ground, a professional move.
Slauson [++]: Text book block, stops the outside rush with his hands and then when the DT counters inside he uses his feet and power to flatten him.
Garza [/]: Needs to get more involved when he does not have an assignment.
Long [/]: Is in good position, but he drops his kick foot [outside foot] and allows the DT to push up field which picks Mills.
Mills [/]: Good hand punch, but he gets knocked off by Long’s man.

*Cutler stares down Marshall and misses a wide open M. Bennett.

Drive 3 [Tillman Pick]

Play 8: Pass to Marshall [9 Yards to the 1]

Bushrod [++]: I love the tricks this guy has in pass protection, he starts with the short set inside punch to stun the defender, when the defender tries to sweep his hands he counters by sweeping the defenders hands and knocking him down again.
Slauson [-]: No assignment, but does not get involved.
Garza [/]: Gets bull rushed on the short throw, but out of the gun you have some ground to give.
Long [/]: Dips his head and gives up the inside, his physicality and the quick throw make it a non factor.
Mills [+]: Good body position and aggressive punch on the short set throw.

Play 9: Forte Run Right [TD]

Bushrod [++]: Exceptional backside cut off on the 3 technique. Rips across, crosses face and gets his body between the defender and the play, tough block.
Slauson [+]: Physical play on the LB makes up for poor footwork.
Garza [+]: Good arm extension allows him to control the NT and dump him over the pile.
Long [+]: You have only 1 option when the defender comes to cut you while your pulling, get down cover him up and punish him for cutting you.
Mills [++]: The block of the play and the reason we score. He comes down and blows up the DT onto the ground and causes a 2-3 defender pile up.

*The shotgun and pistol runs out of the spread [no FB] seem to be our best runs.

Drive 5

Play 10: Pass to Jeffery [Interception return TD]

Bushrod [+]: Good job on the stunt, but does not have a ton to do.
Slauson [/]: Missed the help on Garza.
Garza [–]: Gets beat clean on the snap with his head forward and wait forward.
Long [+]: Clean win with great hand placement, gives up a little push.
Mills [-]: Is too aggressive and jumps out at Kerrigan and while he is athletic enough to stay with Kerrigan he gives him the edge and gives up a pressure. I am sure PFF will crucify him for this.

*Great save by Forte on Garza’s man.

Drive 6

Play 11: Forte Run Left [0 Yards]

Bushrod [++]: Comes down and cuts off the 3 technique and is able to turn him up field.
Slauson [++]: Covers up the LB on the 2nd level and takes him 10 yards down field.
Garza [/]: Gets little movement and is not in control of the block.
Long [+]: Good strike off the ball.
Mills [/]: Needs to be more physical.

*Pretty terrible effort from Forte who has one man to beat in space.

Play 12:  Forte Run Middle [6 Yards]

Bushrod [+]: Keeps crossing Stephen Bowen’s face and allowing plays to go inside.
Slauson [+]: Good physical double team.
Garza [-]: Good initial double team with Slauson, but does not get off to the MLB who makes the play.
Long [+]: Does a nice job of moving his hips around and walling off the run gap and not getting pushed back into the play.
Mills [+]: Good body position and arm extension to keep the OLB away from the play.

Play 13: Pass to Marshall [Incomplete]

Bushrod [+]: Does a nice job of battling Orakpo and staying with him on the outside rush. Not a dominant rep by Bushrod, but a great fight against a good rusher.
Slauson [+]: Punches the looper and picks up the crasher on the stunt.
Garza [+]: Good physical effort on the crasher across his face.
Long [-]: Knocks the crasher down with a great hand punch, but misses the looper coming around who affects the throw.
Mills [-]: Gets beat inside by the crasher to quickly to be involved in the stunt protection and should have used better footwork to power step inside and pass Kerrigan to Long and pick up the backside DT.

*This ball needs to come out more quickly this is a slow developing stunt I would expect on 3rd and 12 not 3rd and 4.

Drive 7

Play 14: Sack [Cutler Injured]

Bushrod [+]: Do a good job keeping their shoulders square and using their arm length to force the twist to happen in front of them so they can switch it off.
Slauson [+]: Do a good job keeping their shoulders square and using their arm length to force the twist to happen in front of them so they can switch it off.
Garza [–]: Gets pinned by the crasher and does not react quickly enough when his man does not rush and instead loops.
Long [–]: Gets beat inside by the crasher and does not come off on the twist.
Mills [-]: Gets beat by the speed rush and while does an admirable job of fighting to the end of the rep forces Cutler up.

*The Bears OL has been struggling with twists, which is a common thing that OLmen struggle with.

McCown 4th Quarter [10:50]

Play 1: Jeffery Reverse [10 Yards]

Bushrod [++]: Chases the LB 10 yards down field.
Slauson [+]: Engages the DT long enough to allow Jeffery to go by and then dumps him on the ground, could get his hips and body in a better position.
Garza [+]: Great cut off of the NT and gets his body in position to really sit and wall him off.
Long [+]: Good double on the backside DT.
Mills [+]: Good double team on the backside DT.

*Exceptional blocks by both M. Bennett and Rosario to really open the play.
**This play is right out of the CFL playbook.

Play 2: Pass to Jeffery [22 Yards]

Bushrod [+]: Good body position and redirect on the inside move. Excellent inside punch to knock the defender off course.
Slauson [-]: Misses helping on the DT and does little.
Garza [+]: Nice job resetting his feet on the bull rush and pancaking the DT when he jumps.
Long [+]: An easy block.
Mills [+]: An easy block doubling the DT, but they execute their assignment.

Play 3: Forte Run Right cut back Left [4 Yards]

Bushrod [++]: Blows Stephen Bowen off the ball and creates a massive cut back lane.
Slauson [++]: Quickly to the 2nd level and moves the LB back 3-4 yards.
Garza [–]: Gets blown up into the backfield and causes the cut back.
Long [/]: Does not get engaged with the defender and is knocked off his block by the pile.
Mills [/]: Engages the defender, but does not do so violently and this would make sense if it was a designed cut back.

Play 4: Pass to Marshall [Incomplete Pass]

Bushrod [+]: Comes down and picks up the blitz from Fletcher.
Slauson [+]: Comes down physically and keeps his chest square and clumps the blitz together.
Garza [+]: Nice job sorting out the blitz and taking over for Long.
Long [-]: Again misses the looping blitzer when his DT goes inside, needs to have his eyes up.
Mills [++]: Matches Kerrigans athletic ability to the edge, locks his hands on and uses his power to not allow a counter or inside move.

*The Redskins send 7 against 6 protectors and Orakpo comes free. It looks like they are all doing the same thing, but I hate leaving a free rusher on the QBs blindside.

Play 5: Pass to Marshall  [Incomplete Pass]

Bushrod [/]: Slides down, but does little.
Slauson [/]: Chases the looper and ends up out of position.
Garza [+]: Good power base against the rushing NT.
Long [+]: Much better job by the rookies staying square, not dipping their head and seeing the twist coming and passing it using their hands and keeping the defenders away from their body.
Mills [+]: Much better job by the rookies staying square, not dipping their head and seeing the twist coming and passing it using their hands and keeping the defenders away from their body.

*Just an incredible bad pass protection job by Forte who knows who he has, but throws a shoulder and gets run by.



1. The Bears best OLmen is Jermon Bushrod. He is a savvy pass protector who may get beat once a game the rest of the time he is matching good pass rushers and winning. I like his run blocking especially when asked to make athletic run blocks on the edge or cutting off the backside.

2. Matt Forte needs to improve as a pass protector, he missed a couple of blitzes and just had terrible technique and effort on other blocks. He was a real weakness on some key passing plays.

3. Martellus Bennett is a very good run blocker and he makes some very smart blocks that sprung longer run plays.

4. Roberto Garza is going to struggle against anyone who has a good NT. He just cannot move that much anymore and it shows when we have runs outside that require him to scoop the NT or redirect.

5. Long and Mills are still having some growing pains. They have technique lapses that lead them to be in bad positions, often they are saved by their athletic ability and aggressiveness. This is what we have to sit through as these guys grow together and improve.

6. I did not see Trestman change the play calling for McCown and I was impressed by his quick decisions and throws, something back ups often struggle with. I am not going to predict how he will play moving forward, but I saw NO difference in play callin.

7. Reports of Jordan Mills struggles seem to be exaggerated in my opinion. Yes he does give up late pressures, but many of them did not have a huge impact on the play. He does not give up quick pressures, hits and sacks, which is what I am more concerned about. This was all while matching up with a pretty good pass rusher in Ryan Kerrigan.

This is the best Bears OL play we have seen since the Superbowl and they are a huge reason we are having success this season. They will continue to get better as they work together and get more experience in the system. This OL is significantly better than last season and they are already better than they were earlier in the season when they were heavily protected by the play calling. There will be bumps in the road, but they are required to grow.

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