Bears’ pass protection still has much room to improve

Posted Dec. 01, 2010 @ 7:40 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player, coach or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week, it's the Bears' offensive line.

The Bears' offense has benefited from starting the same offensive linemen in the same five positions in each of the past four games after doing plenty of shuffling earlier in the season, but Jay Cutler still has faced a fair share of heat recently.

He has been sacked 10 times during the four-game winning streak.

The offense's worst days could be behind it, but it's time for this offensive line to tighten up even more.

Cutler has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the league, even though he missed a game and a half because of a concussion, and, while Cutler is tough and durable, keeping him upright on a more frequent basis in the final five games could do a lot to keep him fresh.

C Olin Kreutz didn't have his finest performance in pass protection against the Eagles in Week 12, and he's capable of playing better. Rookie ORT J'Marcus Webb has started seven consecutive games at right tackle and expectations should be higher for him as he gets more comfortable. OLT Frank Omiyale and OLG Chris Williams — who protect Cutler's blind side — can't afford to have any letdowns.

Detroit sacked Cutler four times in Week One, and the team ranks ninth in the league in sacks (28). With a crucial four-game stretch to close out the season after this one, including tough battles against the Patriots, Jets, Vikings and Packers, the Bears' blockers can make sure Cutler isn't aching after taking a vicious hit with a postseason berth on the line.