Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Proof Justin Fields Will See Instant Protection Improvement Under Getsy

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The Chicago Bears offensive line doesn’t have much star power. That, along with the departure of James Daniels in free agency, has many experts proclaiming the unit among the worst in the NFL. It isn’t hard to understand why. Only two spots out of five appear settled, with left tackle, right guard, and right tackle up for grabs. A 5th round rookie is a current favorite for left tackle, and the 2nd round pick from last year can’t even hold down the starting right tackle spot he played most of college at. It looks like a complete mess on paper. People fear for Justin Fields’ well-being.



Is it really that bad? Not if you trust what Luke Getsy has planned for the offense. He will bring a variation of the wide-zone offense to Chicago. This system was made famous by Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, Gary Kubiak, Sean McVay, and Matt Lafleur. At its best, the scheme has confounded defenses for decades. I was curious if it had a tangible impact on pass protection during its first year. After doing some research, the results were somewhat surprising. While there were a few instances where no immediate effect was noticed, most others saw a massive improvement in sacks allowed.

  • 1995 Broncos – From 55 to 26
  • 2006 Texans – From 68 to 43
  • 2010 Redskins – From 46 to 46
  • 2015 Falcons – From 31 to 32
  • 2017 49ers – From 46 to 43
  • 2017 Rams – From 49 to 28
  • 2019 Packers – From 53 to 36

Justin Fields can trust in help from the system.

Its success at improving protection comes with better coaching. Attention to detail is pivotal. That is why the Bears hired Chris Morgan. He has years of NFL experience and had success with this offense in Atlanta. He knows what is required to teach it. Don’t think those teams accomplished their improvement through simply running the ball more, either. Three of the five teams listed above finished 16th or worse in rushing attempts for that season. Only the Rams (9th) and Packers (13th) cleared that bar.

Chicago will run the football. That is what Getsy and Matt Eberflus want. However, they aren’t going to lean on that as a way to improve Justin Fields’ protection. Not like Matt Nagy did. They are determined to teach this group of young guys how to play their positions correctly. They want confident blockers that play with intelligence and violence. If this is accomplished, talent often shines through.

Fields may not play like a star this year, but his protection should end up better than it was last season.

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Thomas J Cameron
Thomas J Cameron
Jul 7, 2022 9:49 am

Nice article, but it would be interesting to understand the mobility of the QBs during those years of most improvement. From pocket passer to Wide Zone could account for a lot. Also, changing QBs might also influence a lot. Going from Foles to Fields would be my example; then add in change of Scheme. Might that not be more affective than just the line coaching?

Bill Kowalski
Bill Kowalski
Jul 7, 2022 8:15 am

Eric, I enjoy reading your articles, but sometimes you are so off the mark I wonder what you’re smoking. C’mon man! You said “they aren’t going to lean on that as a way to improve Justin Fields’ protection. Not like Matt Nagy did.”” WHAT!

Nagy DID NOT LEAN ON THE RUN!” He’s the guy who ran a FRANCHISE RECORD LOW 7 TIMES against the Saints!!! Nagy never learned on the run. IF HE WOULD HAVE LEANED MORE ON THE RUN WITH MONTGOMERY HE WOULD HAVE WON MORE GAMES!!

Gator Joe
Gator Joe
Jul 7, 2022 6:10 am

Well, for starters, James Daniels was not some All Pro guard and got pushed around a lot in the run and pass game so don’t cry to hard for that one. Yes, Jason Peters was excellent about 10 years ago but there wasn’t much left. The young guys took some lumps but should be improved with better coaching and a good camp. The new system is better for these guys and the right kind of leadership at center can really help. There is a bit of cautious optimism but we all expect plenty of growing pains. Nothing wrong with a… Read more »

ManGod
ManGod
Jul 7, 2022 5:35 am

Blue-chip talent is not a necessity for a team to be highly competitive, but it does sometimes make the team more consistent and competitive. A team filled with second and 3rd tier players can offer sustained success in the short term. Play design, coaching, overall scheme, position depth, and player health often determine and decide a team’s fate. But, realistically, it is way too early to decide any team’s level of success or competitiveness at this point in the season. This Chicago Bears roster could become 2022’s Cinderella Team and go deep into the play-offs for all anyone can say!

Bears_down
Bears_down
Jul 6, 2022 11:10 pm

The facts are the Bear Oline is severely lacking blue chip talent. Fans are all high on a bunch of Pace picks & or Poles late round picks and UDFA’s that somehow now with a new coach they all are gonna ball out. I find it hilarious how many fans have rose colored glasses on, Facts are most draft picks dont pan out especially 3rd day guys. Oh and we have the cheapest costing offense in the league and only 1 other team is even close

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