Sunday, July 3, 2022

Dakota Dozier Has Landed On IR. Here Are Possible Replacements

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The Chicago Bears‘ offensive line was already in a state of uncertainty going into early off-season workouts. Now things have gotten more complicated. Dakota Dozier was one of the few veterans they have working at guard that has actual starting experience there. Now it appears his stay with the organization will be brief. Dozier left practices earlier this month on a cart with a left knee injury. The indications were not good.



Sadly those concerns were proven accurate as the Bears placed him on Injured Reserve. It isn’t clear what the injury is but speculation suggests a torn ACL. If so, then Dozier is done for the year. That leaves the team in a tough spot. They were already thin at guard before his exit. Now? It leads one to wonder if they may go hunting for help in free agency after training camp begins. Presuming that is the case, here are some names worth watching.

Bears have options to replace Dakota Dozier.

Ereck Flowers

The former 9th overall pick was drafted to be a tackle in the NFL but that never worked out. So Flowers shifted to guard a few years ago and that seemed to finally help him settle in as a solid offensive lineman. Last season may have been his best, allowing only 26 pressures in 635 pass-blocking snaps. He’s also still not 30 years old yet. The issue with him might be the size. He’s listed at 330 lbs, which is too heavy for the Bears’ new offense. So he may have to drop weight to get where they’d need him to be.

Quinton Spain

He was a good player in both Tennessee and Buffalo, showcasing adequate pass protection skills. When he joined the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, things got rough. He allowed 45 pressures and eight sacks on Joe Burrow across 29 games. That may not sound like a lot, but it definitely is for a guard. It isn’t certain why his usual steadiness regressed. Perhaps the Bears might be able to mask those issues in Luke Getsy’s new offense. One that is designed around running the ball and utilizing play action. Compared to Dakota Dozier, he’s an upgrade.

Michael Schofield

Nobody would confuse the former 3rd round pick with anything special, but Schofield has proven to be an adequate guard in the NFL for the past five or so years. Last season was one of his best, allowing 26 pressures total in 605 pass blocking snaps for the Los Angeles Chargers. He seems to have the size and mobility the Bears are looking for too. In terms of finding an emergency option that can compete at right guard, it might be hard to find any better options than him. He would be the immediate favorite from the moment he joined the roster.

John Miller

Another former 3rd round pick with loads of starting experience. Miller has never been a higher-end player in the NFL but he’s been serviceable. He has had some bad luck playing on some awful teams over the years, which makes it easy to criticize his play. Last season was particularly tough, allowing seven sacks in 421 snaps. How much of that was him and how much was having to protect Sam Darnold? Either way, if the Bears were looking to go the cheap route then Miller figures to be the easiest one to get.

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eecummings
Jun 21, 2022 11:24 am

Spain rebounded in 2021, becoming somewhat of a bright spot on a terrible Bengals line (PFF 72.3, better than Daniels or Whitehair last year and better than Ryan Bates, who the Bears tried to sign). His RAS (based on Pro Day) is a great 9.64. I am pretty sure he has experience in the Bears blocking scheme (sometimes it’s hard to tell with different terminology) and he took a 1 year, roughly $1 million deal prove it deal with them after a 3 year $15 million contract with the Bills did not work out. He is the type of player… Read more »

Frank Rizzo
Jun 21, 2022 11:09 am

You could use a traffic cone to replace Dozier.

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