The Chicago Bears offensive line is finishing its complete rebuild and coming together for a massive week one test against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
Braxton Jones, Larry Borom, and Teven Jenkins are all second-year and first-year players with 10 total NFL starts. Three players with 10 starts don’t exactly elicit confidence heading into week one of the NFL season.
The question remains will the Chicago Bears’ offensive tackles be able to hold up against a deep and talented defensive end core? The 49ers go about five deep with Samson Ebukam, Drake Jackson, Charles Omenihu, Kerry Hyder, and Kemoko Turay.
The 49ers were fifth in the league in total sacks and first in the league against the run and seventh overall in defense according to Football Outsiders. So the Bears will have a huge challenge ahead of them to get their offense moving. The 49ers will be competing for a Super Bowl title based on the talent they have on defense. The defense can very well carry them to the Super Bowl, much like it has carried them to the playoffs the last few years.
The Chicago Bears meanwhile will start two fifth-round draft picks in Braxton Jones and Larry Borom. Jone has shown a ton of potential, while Borom is a good run blocker but sizes up as a below-average pass blocker.
How bad will it get for the Bears in week one? That seems to be the over-arcing theme because there is little confidence that the Chicago Bears will get much going on offense. The bettors have the Bears scoring 15 points in the game, basically 7.5-points per half. That’s among the lowest week one totals to bet on to start the season.
All that being said, this is a different Bears team than a year ago with a completely revamped offensive scheme. The Bears will attack the edges with their outsize zone running scheme which will put immediate pressure on the defenders and take pressure off of Justin Fields.
The Bears showed a willingness to use Justin Fields in the RPO game which means a team will show run, but then immediately throw a pass out of a run blocking set. That means the defensive ends can’t sit in a pass-rushing stance like they did so many times a year ago in the Matt Nagy scheme.
Even when Nagy wasn’t passing the ball, he was running the ball primarily out of the shotgun which still meant the defense could pin their ears back and attack the mesh point in ways they can’t when you run out of the I-formation.
Second, the Bears will run a lot more play-action passes than they did a year ago which also means the defensive ends will have completely different responsibilities than they did a year ago. The Bears have also shown that they’ll be far more active in the screen game than they were a year ago, getting WRs involved in the screen game as well as TEs to slow down the pass rush.
Lastly, there will be far more movement in the pocket with Justin Fields than there was a year ago. The Bears ran 15 designed rollouts a year ago, that;’s less than one per game which meant the defense could plan on rushing to a landmark on passing downs to disrupt the Bears’ offense. They did that well a year ago as the Bears had the highest sack rate allowed of any team in the NFL a year ago.
So yes the Bears will be facing a monumental test, but offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is going to scheme the protections and the offense in a completely different way than Matt Nagy. Despite the inexperience up front, the Bears will likely protect the passer better than they did a year ago.
There just isn’t a way to truly express in the ineptititue of the Matt Nagy offense and how it was designed to fail and how it was essentially an Arena Football offense, which is where Nagy had his most success as a player. There wasn’t any NFL aspects to Nagy’s scheme, and the elimination of that means the Bears will have a better chance than a year ago.
So a brand new offense with scheme versatility will put the Bears in a better position to compete. The difference may come down to just how special of a player Justin Fields. If the Bears pull out the improbable win because of Justin Fields, then the future is brighter than it has ever been in the history of franchise.
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