Offensive Line, Offensive Line, Offensive Line…

| March 9th, 2011

There is a belief in the sports world that the NFL season is now 52 weeks long and allows coaches and organizations only the short break between the end of their season and the start of the scouting combine in Indianapolis (the shorter that break, the more successful your season). For the Chicago Bears, I’m hoping these few months don’t allow them too much time, too much distance from the central issues of their 2010 campaign: the offensive line.

Yes they need a big target wide receiver but that is seemingly available in the free agent market and will be a crapshoot on draft days.  Yes they need some depth on the defensive line and in the secondary but depth, while important, can’t be the focus of an imperfect team on the precipice of great things.  Sure they might pursue the services of a veteran quarterback to backup Jay Cutler, though I don’t believe it is anywhere near a priority.  I like Caleb Hanie and believe he should be anointed the backup today.
This team, the 2010 Chicago Bears, has one definitive flaw that must be corrected before they become the 2011 Chicago Bears.  Insanity, as Einstein defined it, is performing the same act repeatedly and expecting different results.  If the Bears rely on Mike Tice’s ability to coach-em-up and this profoundly unfortunate feeling that the line improved over the course of the season, they will be dooming themselves to insanity.  

They do not require development of young talent, though J’Marcus Webb is certainly a player with a future in the organization.  They do not require more time to become acquainted with a complicated system, though improvement will surely follow the continuation of the Mad Mike system.  The Bears need better players on the offensive line.  Plain and simple.  Not a single individual, with the exception of Webb, should be considered irreplaceable over the next six months.  Not one.  Not the aging great in the center.  Not the talented Mexican at guard.  Certainly not the left side – which walked an eighteen-game tight rope and spent too much time on the security net.

They need better players and they need as many as possible.  If they’re going to be a running team they need better blockers up the gut.  If they’re going to pass they need better protection on the outside.  Better.  Now.  Because if they don’t acquire better talent on the offensive line, the Bears will be flaunting their defensive line depth as they watch their division rival hoist a second straight Lombardi Trophy.