Year-End Position Grades: Offensive Line

DEPTH CHART & STATISTICS (Including Playoffs):

Depth Chart Position  –  #  –  Last Name, First Name  –  2010 Age – Games Started
LT1) 68  –  Omiyale, Frank  – 28 – 16
LG1) 74  –  Williams, Chris  – 25 – 13
C1) 57  –  Kreutz, Olin  – 33 – 16
RG1) 63  –  Garza, Roberto  – 31 – 14
RT1) 73  –  Webb, J’Marcus  – 22 – 12
OT) 78 – Shaffer, Kevin – 30 – 2
OG) 60 – Louis, Lance – 25 – 4
OG) 70 – Williams, Edwin – 24 – 3

According to Football Outsiders, the offensive line of the Bears played dreadfully. The Bears finished DEAD LAST in power run success, or the percentage of 3rd and 4th downs of 2 yards or less that were converted to first downs or touchdowns. The NFL Average was 62%, the Bears came in nearly twenty points lower at 44%. The Bears were 29th out of 32 teams in stuffs, or run plays that resulted in negative yards at 25%. So basically, 1 in every 4 running plays lost yardage. Pass protection was not any better, as the Bears allowed the most sacks in the NFL with 56 and getting QB Jay Cutler knocked out of 2 games, including the NFC Championship Game.

Obviously, as you look at the above numbers, it is hard to find that many positives in the offensive line’s performance this season. We are relatively young, with the exceptions of Kreutz and Garza, and the young guys figure to only get better under the tutelage of OL coach Mike Tice. The line also showed improvement as a group over the last 9 games of the year, running for 100 yards or more in 9 of 11 games. And the Bears did finish near the top of the league in runs to the outside and yards on screen passes, which the smaller, more athletic linemen like Kreutz and Williams are much better at.


Now, for the individual grades:

FRANK OMIYALE: Omiyale started the year at right tackle, then was moved to left tackle in the Week 3 game against Green Bay. He played well at first, but seemed to regress over the course of the year. Omiyale has great physical tools, but seems to get outmuscled way too often. He seems best suited to be a backup swing tackle, who plays limited snaps. This is definitely a position the Bears must look to improve this offseason. FINAL GRADE: D

CHRIS WILLIAMS: Williams was anointed the starting left tackle in training camp, and proceeded to play terribly in the preseason and get hurt in Week 2 versus the Cowboys. After missing 3 games, he was inserted in at left guard. He started out shaky—VERY SHAKY—but ended up having a pretty good season. The athleticism that made him a top LT prospect serve him well as a pulling guard and out in space on screen passes. You will still like to see him physically dominate some guys, though, at his size. FINAL GRADE: D

OLIN KREUTZ: Stayed healthy for the first year in a while, and had a pretty good season. Was in charge of all the calls at the line, and did pretty well, considering all the different combinations the Bears threw out there this season. Will still get overmatched on inside runs—one of the big reasons the Bears struggle in short yardage situations—but there might not be a better pulling center in the league, even at this stage of Kreutz’s career. Definitely should be re-signed for at least one more year. FINAL GRADE: B

ROBERTO GARZA: Missed 4 games this season, but otherwise played solidly, if not spectacularly. Not too many surprises anymore with Garza—he won’t do anything extraordinary, but won’t get you beat either. FINAL GRADE: C

J’MARCUS WEBB: Webb was inserted into the starting lineup for good in Week 5 versus the Panthers; and while he had some VERY rough outings (Giants in Week 4; Dolphins in Week 11; Patriots in Week 14), Webb showed remarkable improvement by the end of the season—especially when you consider that he was at West Texas, a Division-II School, last year. Has great size and will only get better. Maybe the only reason to be excited about the Bears’ offensive line going into next season. FINAL GRADE: B-minus

KEVIN SHAFFER: In limited time, did not play TERRIBLY; but is limited athletically and is exploited when can be gameplanned for. Should be gone in 2011. FINAL GRADE: D

LANCE LOUIS: Started the year as the starting LG, and showed alot of meanness, but not much else. Louis cannot be really considered a bust, because he was a 7th-round draft choice; but considering he was expected to solidify the LG spot going into the year, he has to be considered on of the major disappointments of 2010. FINAL GRADE: F

EDWIN WILLIAMS: Played in a few games due to injuries after getting picked up off the Redskins’ scrap heap, and showed some good promise. I think he has a chance to stick around for awhile, mainly because he can play center and both guard spots. FINAL GRADE: C

13 responses

  1. Thorsten

    So, the first roster moves are made by releasing T. Harris, Hillenmeier and Shaffer. Good moves in my eyes, even though i was a little startled by the move on Hunter, but given his injuries I think it makes sense ( and he says it himself –> http://beargoggleson.com/2011/02/28/hunter-hillenmeyers-classy-bears-exit/).

    Now, Tommy finally has been cut. I don’t mean it in a negative way since I kinda liked him, but he’s never been even close to his best form after his injuries.

    Shaffer was a no brainer.

    So on the one hand that means the Bears free up some money and as I read quite some. On the other hand this opens up another need at DT, not only in terms of quality as we had this before Harris got released, but also in terms of depth.

    So, many fans already see us going DT with our first pick in the Draft. And given JA’s history and our general tendency to Draft Defense, this might very well happen.

    Obviously, we have to wait and see what the Bears are going to do in FA, but as of now, in my books we definitely have a choice to make as to whether we go O- Line or DT with our first pick.

    As I understand it this Rookie class is very deep at DT/DE and not so much at O- Line. SO i believe that if the right guy is there we should go OG/OT instead of DT. Obviously, if they believe there’s a better value of a DT at 29 than of a Tackle or Guard than you go with it.

    Now I read the Bears already talked to a fair amount of DT prospects, even TOP ten projects (Fairly, Nevis, Dareus) which tells us that they are very much interested in a DT and may even consider trading up (although it’s highly speculative at this point).

    I for once believe we should go with OT/OG with our first pick. I mean if the DT position is so deep, we should be able to find a decent one in the second round right (maybe trade up in the 2nd round?)? Whereas the other way around, we might end up with yet another prospect that may not be able to help us right away.

    We might as well see us drafting more defensive players cause with Hunter now gone and Pisa and Roach being FA’s we certainly need help at LB. So, I see us drafting one in the mid rounds.

    Yet, all this may change with what we do in FA. And I believe we may see some big additions once again cause right now we have too many needs to fill all of them in the Draft.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:49 am

    • you also gotta remember that Peppers restructured his deal to free up more cap space. And I know the Bears gave Chester Taylor a vote of confidence; but I feel pretty confident that if they can get a scatback in the late rounds of the draft, like Jaquizz Ridgers (Oregon St), Derrick Locke (Kentucky), or Noel Devine (West Virginia), they will have no problem letting Taylor go then. GIves us room to sign a big-name guy; or more importantly, give Forte a much-deserved extension BEFORE his deal is up.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

  2. your good

    February 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    • johnnyhatelak

      Who? Muah? LOL! Thanks Katie.

      February 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

  3. Thorsten

    I hate this time of the year (although it’s getting worse in the summer after mini camps). Nothing happening really. Obviously, the combine coming soon and hopefully the Draft (or does definitely take place no matter how the CBA negotiations turn out?).

    How about a Draft topic? Sharing prospects, talking sleepers, needs of the Bears etc.?

    February 16, 2011 at 5:35 am

    • johnnyharvard

      My top 5 lineman: I hope the Bears draft in the first three are Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State,Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU, Benjamin Ijalana, G/OT, Villanova, John Moffitt, G/C, Wisconsin, Marcus Cannon, G, TCU.

      Top 5 WR’s: Torrey Smith, WR/KR, Maryland, Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami, Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State, Greg Little, WR, North Carolina, Jerrel Jernigan, WR/KR, Troy.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    • johnnyharvard

      Top 5 DT’s are Corey Liuget, DE/DT, Illinois, Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor, Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina, Drake Nevis, DT, LSU, Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State. If they can get 4 of these guys in the first 4 rounds in these positions I would be ecstatic.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

  4. Lincoln1

    Rumors R the titans have interest in Tice to be their O coordinator. That would be a huge lose

    February 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    • johnnyharvard

      Wow! I’m just now getting the notice in my email. Otherwise I’d have responded sooner. Well The move to retain Tice was the right one. It was also the right move to extend him. That was proof that the Organization is prepared to reward people and do whats right for the team. keeping ice is best because of all the young lineman they’re about to acquire and count on.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  5. Lincoln1

    Im sure the bears are sick and tired of seeing Cutler get popped, but again they have never shown that they can draft well. Angelo’s biggest weakness is the draft. He has to be one of the worst Gm in football in finding talent. No fan should have faith that this clown will get the job done

    February 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  6. johnnyharvard

    Well according to score host Terry boers his insde guy told him the Bears are sick and tired of seeing their prize asset getting pummeled week in and week out and have prioritized O-line as THE position of most significance this offseason. I expect them to draft a tackle and possibly a G/C down further. an interesting name that keeps popping up as a Guy who can play G & C is Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU. He’s projected to go no earlier than 3rd round. Another guy I like is Tim Barnes, C, Missouri. He’s projected to go no earlier than 4th. Two good value rounds for both these guys that may turn into future pro bowlers at the position. Another interesting prospect I’ve been reading about lately is Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU. He could be a sleeper. From what I’m reading this kid has the skill to be a first year starting LT and dominate right from jump. He’s also a guy who can sink to oblivion. Your classic boom or bust. But he may be worthy of a flier in round 3 if he lasts.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

  7. If we cant get someone in FA, I wouldnt be surprised if its:
    C. Williams-LT
    Omiyale- Backup Swing Tackle
    E.Williams-Backup C/G
    H.Johnson-Backup G

    If we cant re-sign Kreutz, I expect Garza to be slid over to center and you will see E. Williams or a draftee at RG.

    February 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

  8. johnnyharvard

    I would say the Lance Louis grade is too harsh. Louis lost the job on injury not ineffectiveness. He’d have been in there wire to wire had he not gotten injured, and probably would’ve made the line better. Garza is more experienced but far more limited. Don’t be shocked if Louis wins that spot and Garza is cut.

    I also think you gave Webb too high of a grade. I’d give Webb a C- and Louis an incomplete. Sure he was a rookie seventh rounder from a small school but the performance is the performance. He got beat like a drum a lot. He will get better though. I do think he’s a keeper and may be the future LT.

    The rest I’d agree with. I think a LT is needed. From the draft or Free agency. maybe from with in if one of the project guys step up. Guard can also be solved by that House kid and don’t be shocked if Williams is given his LT job back. Depends what the draft gets them, but free agency is not going to solve it. Now Mankins is reportedly going to be franchised while the 14 day tagging period the NFL instituted is in effect. Another smart shrewd move by New England. Again the line problems may be answered in house. Thats why Tice is here. To mold this talent. I don’t see a stud LT ready to play this year in the draft either. Bears will surely get one to develop though and may be inserted mid season should whatever they start with fail. Bears do need to be 100% sure about the line though. they can’t afford to have jay getting creamed like last year. If the Bears will have any chance to build on last season Cutler has to be that stud QB. Whatever it is that they need to do to make it happen thats what they need to do. Wr,O-line even a RB if thats what it takes. Defense be damned!

    February 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

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