We've discussed the combination of factors that has left the Chicago Bears with an NFL-high 23 sacks in over their first six games. As we noted earlier this month, coordinator Mike Martz's scheme has historically been a high-sack offense. Quarterback Jay Cutler has taken more than his share of sacks over his career. And constant personnel change along the offensive line has caused problems.
So I thought it was interesting to read general manager Jerry Angelo's take on the Bears' sack totals this year in an interview on the team's web site. For the most part, Angelo focused in on the offensive line.
"I'm concerned because we didn't protect the quarterback," Angelo said. "We're no different than any offense. If you don't do that, you can't maximize your scheme. With new players in new positions, I knew we were going to see some pressure, but we had too much of it. Until you see them out there playing, it's hard to say before the game what you can and can't do. It's something that we'll spend a lot of time addressing this week, but just getting the same five offensive linemen playing together will help us."
Personally, I think it's a bit harsh to put a majority of blame on the line -- not as long as Martz is calling pass plays at an 80 percent clip, as he did last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Cutler also deserves some blame for holding the ball too long on some occasions, as ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer pointed out this week.
But for what it's worth, Angelo believes the Bears will get their sack issue squared away once they can settle on a consistent five-man starting lineup.
"I know that's going to improve the line," he said. "It's a fact. How confident am I that it's going to come together right away? I can't sit here and tell you that. But you can't evaluate players until you're in the heat of battle, and now that we know them better, we understand more of what they can handle mentally and physically. That's when you start making progress."
With guard Roberto Garza continuing to recover from knee surgery, it appears the Bears will have the same combination of starters Sunday against the Washington Redskins: Frank Omiyale and J'Marcus Webb at tackle; Chris Williams and Edwin Williams at guard; and Olin Kreutz at center.