“Statistics are like bikinis: what they reveal is provocative, what they conceal is vital!” I forgot who made that wonderful quote, but it certainly applies to Saturday night’s Bears preseason loss in Seattle. Starting quarterback Rex Grossman was sacked and intercepted just once. However, those numbers don’t tell us how he spent most of the night running for his life behind a severely damaged orange and blue line in front of him. Pressure off the end led to his lone INT and the constant Seahawks rush forced him into making (almost exclusively) short check down passes. This yielded two more revealing and indicative statistics: an awful less than 5 yards per pass attempt, which was a component of a dreadful 44.9 passer rating. Obviously, this performance contributed
to Kyle Orton being named the starter for the season opener. First round draft pick Chris Williams missing at least half of the season is very damaging, because it’s actually a loss of two projected starters. John Tait has to remain at left tackle (where Williams was penciled in) instead of shifting over to right tackle which would have been an upgrade from last year at both positions. Terrence Metcalf is also recovering from surgery, meaning John St. Clair and Josh Beekman, neither of which are truly NFL caliber starting linemen, are now going to see a majority of time on the field.
So what can the Bears do to fix their offensive line problem? Re-sign Fred Miller, who cut last season? Play more “double tight” sets with the Tight Ends staying at home more to block? I spoke with starting tight end Desmond Clark after the final full-pads practice in Camp Bourbonnais. “I don’t think you’re going to see us change anything; I don’t think we’re going to be doing anything different from what we did last year. I think our offensive line will protect just as well as any other offensive line. I don’t see any reason that the tight ends will have to stay in any more than we usually do,” Clark said.
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