No one was surprised to see three Chicago Bears defenders featured prominently on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week this week. Heck, there was probably an argument for more Bears representatives on the squad. But did you notice someone on the other side of the line of scrimmage getting some attention from PFF? That’s right: Bobby Massie was PFF’s highest-graded right tackle in Sunday’s games. Hello.
In fact, Massie was on the site’s Team of the Week before Mitchell Schwartz’s stellar performance for the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Massie’s game against the Vikings deserved some more love and we’re here to give it to him. He allowed just two pressures on 74 total snaps en route to earning a 72.6 grade in his primetime effort on Sunday Night Football. It’s the latest strong performance for Massie, who is in the midst of a well-timed career year as he will become a free agent after the season ends. Go figure.
The most encouraging development in what has been a standout season for Massie has been his performance in pass protection. Massie’s 78.1 pass-blocking grade ranks sixth among right tackles, according to PFF. And if you take into consideration the importance of keeping Mitch Trubisky’s pocket clean, the improvement in this aspect of Massie’s game has helped aid in Trubisky’s improvements under center. The domino effect is undeniable here.
And to think, the Bears could have saved $5.6 million by parting ways with Massie in the offseason. But the team didn’t go in that direction and instead teamed him with a new offensive line coach to help him (and the others along the line) play up to their potential. That roll of the dice and show of faith in Massie (as well as OL Coach Harry Hiestand) seems to be paying off for the Bears.
Massie entered the year hoping to play his way into a Pro Bowl spot. And while that seemed like a long shot at the beginning of the year, no one ever accomplished anything worth noting by setting a low bar to clear. So to see Massie play his best ball in a year in which he set out some big expectations is freaking awesome. Massie happened to rank out far better than expected at the end of last year and seems to be carrying that over into this season with a new position coach.
I’m not sure if Massie is having a breakout season. He isn’t a mauling run-blocker or pristine in the pass game, but he also isn’t a detriment to the offensive line. What Massie is doing is playing to his potential in that he is a starting caliber right tackle on a team primed for a late-season push toward a postseason berth. And that’s all the Bears have ever needed him to be.