Scouts Inc.: Bears' 'inside-out' protection

Back in March, Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. began the process of interpreting the Chicago Bears' new offense under coach Marc Trestman. Horton's original post predicted the kind of shorter routes and quicker releases that the Bears have displayed during spring practices that were open to reporters.

In this Insider post, Horton focuses on how the Bears' pass protection is likely to change in the new system. The Bears will now place more emphasis on interior pass protection than on the edge, an "inside-out" philosophy that offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer used with quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Horton: "The Bears will pass block from 'inside-out,' which is somewhat unique as they try to eliminate inside pressure and blitzes by having strong play from their guards and centers and not always 'fanning' outside to pick up the edge blitz. It is a scheme that served Kromer well with Drew Brees in New Orleans and, if successful, it will allow [Jay] Cutler to step up into the pocket and stay inside his protection, rather than being flushed like he has so often in recent years."

This approach represents a mixed bag for Cutler, who has been battered by edge pass-rushers during his Bears career but can be dangerous when he escapes the pocket. (According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler has thrown for the NFL's eight-highest total of yards outside of the pocket since the start of the 2009 season. His total inside the pocket ranks No. 15.)

Still, Horton's explanation offers some context for why the Bears plan to use first-round draft pick Kyle Long at guard. The quickest point to the quarterback is a straight line. If the Bears play the way they want to, edge rushers won't have enough time to get to Cutler anymore.