Bears Offensive Line Needs Immediate and Drastic Change

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If the Chicago Bears front office isn’t going to invest in an offensive lineman to protect Jay Cutler, it ought to spend its money on a stretcher.

A year ago, Cutler became the prized possession of Chicago. The Bears had finally invested in a competent quarterback who could lead the team into the modern era of the NFL, a trigger-happy league with less emphasis on the ground-and-pound running attack that was defined by Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders.

But luring their star signal caller to Chicago came at a high price. In agreeing to send two first-round picks and former Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton, he of the neck beard extraordinaire, to Denver, the Bears bet the house that Cutler was the team’s future.

Twenty-four games later, Cutler seems to spend more time on his butt than on his feet. The offensive line looks so horrendous it almost seems as if linemen have something against Cutler. The moment he snaps the ball, the line opens the floodgates and its the Bears’ top investment against four onrushing 6-foot-5 inch 275-pound defensive linemen.

If a league-leading 31 sacks (23 in the last four games) doesn’t send General Manager Jerry Angelo the message that his $50 million signal caller isn’t being properly protected then the Bears have problems more grave than acquiring an offensive lineman.

After the Giants game on Oct. 3, Angelo acknowledged that the offensive line had problems.

My mother taught me two things growing up – always follow the golden rule and actions speak louder than words.

The Bears balked at the opportunity to acquire Super Bowl champion Logan Mankins but cited the price for the left guard as too high. However, if offensive line help doesn’t come soon, the cost could be Jay Cutler and his awfully expensive arm.

With recently waived Randy Moss on the market, it would seem a good move for the Bears – the league’s 28th ranked receiving offense – to go after one of the best wide receivers of all time. But with Moss’s attitude and Cutler’s inability to get any time in the pocket to find open receivers, the marriage would be a disaster waiting to happen.

It’s a shame, because with better offensive line play, the addition of Moss could have pole-vaulted the Bears offense into one of the best in the league. Devin Hester is naturally suited for the slot, Johnny Knox has proven efficient and Moss’s speed and uncanny concentration to route running and catching would complement Cutler’s cannon of an arm nicely. Add that to a solid ground game and the Bears’ group of athletic tight ends and Mike Martz would have a lot of weapons to tinker with.

That’s all a pipe dream. So close, yet so far. Unless Mike Tice can part the proverbial red sea with the faulty offensive line he has – which looks like a 15 year old jigsaw puzzle that the dog got to – that kind of offensive fire power  will have to remain a dream.

The Bears’ pockets are notoriously shallow. Up until the trade that brought Cutler to Chicago, the McCaskeys had been a frugal bunch. However, by bringing in Cutler last year and throwing $91 million at star defensive end Julius Peppers this offseason, a culture change shook the organization.

Now is not the time to stop shopping. I’m no Jim Cramer, but I know it’s important to protect important investments.

Angelo has to finish what he started, otherwise he might be paying for Cutler’s salary and his hospital bills.

–Ethan Asofsky

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