Take a bow, Harry Hiestand.
Through six games of the 2018 season, the Chicago Bears’ offensive line is viewed as a strength. In fact, this offensive line – as currently constructed – is one of the best in the NFL. And that’s something we need to talk about with some conviction, because it’s been a while since we’ve been able to confidently type those words without having to caveat a player’s upside, potential, or pending health status. This group is good. Right now. And that’s awesome.
Michael Renner’s latest offensive line rankings at Pro Football Focus has the Bears hanging in the top-10. Renner ranks the Bears line as the eighth best in football, even as starting left guard Eric Kush is the team’s lowest-graded player. And yet, it’s not as if Kush hasn’t been a complete dud in his role. Kush has been a strong pass blocker, allowing just two pressures in 174 pass-protection snaps.
- Los Angeles Rams
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- Chicago Bears
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Bears fans who lived through the Jay Cutler era of watching the team’s quarterback pummeled by pass-rushers should have a special appreciation for what’s going on with the team’s current offensive line situation. Pass blocking being a team strength now should bode well for the future as quarterback Mitch Trubisky continues to develop. And there is no doubt the line’s work is allowing Trubisky to blossom in front of our own eyes.
Check this out:
What gets lost in Mitchell Trubisky's recent rise is how well the Bears offensive line has protected him this year. His 75.8 clean pocket percentage ranks No. 1 among eligible QBs. Kudos to the grizzlies in the trenches.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) October 15, 2018
Remember how great Trubisky was against the Buccaneers? It’s not a coincidence that the offensive line kept him clean on a vast majority of his dropbacks. And what might be the most important development thing here is that this excellence isn’t just a one or two game blip. Yes, I can hear you saying “it’s only five games” but I feel as if that’s enough of a sample to point out a trend. Speaking of trends, this might be the most encouraging of all:
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) October 17, 2018
Sure, the bye week is going to tilt some numbers and this will be something worth tracking to see if the group can continue to keep up the good work. But so far, so good.
Excellence in pass-protection has helped Trubisky find some comfort under center (or in shotgun or pistol formations) and put him on a historic pace through five games (by the franchise’s standards). And it sounds like Trubisky knows he wouldn’t be doing special things in the air without that line of protection:
Trubisky: “I think the o-line has played two of their best games back to back."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 17, 2018
Offensive linemen are steadily underrated and overlooked throughout the course of their careers. Let’s allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves for a moment, you see more offensive line talk when they’re missing assignments than when they are doing their jobs. But let’s change that … starting now. The Bears offensive line is off to a good start, and in turn, their quarterback has started strong, the new skill position players are putting up nice numbers, and the offense – as a whole – looks better now than it did at any point in the last two years. Now, it’s up for these guys to keep it up. If they can, we’ll have more bouquets to throw their way as the season progresses.