Bears-Bengals OL Viewers Guide: Looking to drive Bengals 'into the ground'

Bears-Bengals OL Viewers Guide: Looking to drive Bengals 'into the ground'
September 6, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Traditional remedies for dealing with a ferocious pass rush include short, quick-release passes; keeping tight ends in to block; using running back to “chip,” delivering a blocking assist on the way out into patterns; and the favorite for offensive linemen: run right at it.

The Bears are expected to use any and all against the bedrock of the Cincinnati Bengals, its highly paid and highly productive defensive line. The Bears are fielding rookies at right guard (Kyle Long) and right tackle {Jordan Mills) in addition to veteran left tackle (Jermon Bushrod) and guard (Matt Slauson) playing for the first time together in something other than a preseason game.

Running back Matt Forte would like to see the last one, for multiple reasons.

[MORE: Bears-Bengals QB Viewers Guide: Pressure on Cutler to thwart pressure]

“It gives [the offensive linemen] a chance to fire off the ball,” Forte said. “If you come out throwing passes, they have to look for blitzes and all kinds of things. If you can run the ball, they can just come off the ball, get ahold of guys and drive them into the ground.”

Whether Long, Mills and the rest can drive the likes of All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins into the ground may be open to at least a teeny bit of question.

Atkins led all defensive tackles with 12.5 sacks last season and leads the NFL at his position with 20 over the past two years.

“It’s tough to single up [on Atkins],” said coach Marc Trestman. “You’ve got to move your protections around. You’ve got to move your quarterback’s passing spot so he’s not able to tee off.

“We’ll try to do what everyone else has tried to do in the tape that we’ve looked at. It won’t be easy.”

But the Bears were 8-1 last season when they attempted 30 or more runs. Not coincidentally, in only two of those games was Jay Cutler sacked more than twice, and those two (Detroit I, Tennessee) were still wins.

“We sure wish we could play a team that wasn’t quite as good up front,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. “But you know what? It’s a good challenge, it’s a good opportunity for the guys to see where they are. It’s going to be a growing process throughout the year.”

[MORE: Bears-Bengals RB Viewers Guide: Bears 'O' runs through Forte/Bush]

That process begins Sunday with the pressure on Marc Trestman to give his offensive line a scheme advantage with basic principles: “Try to be able to have some balance to our attack, mix the run and the pass, get some movement and move the ball around and try to mix it up as much as we can,” Trestman said. “And that won’t be easy.”

What was perceptible this week in the locker room away from cameras and microphones was the attitude. Busrod, Slauson and center Roberto Garza has been in this position before, but Long and Mills were clearly both eager for the matchups and confident in what Trestman and staff were giving them.

“Coaches have a great game plan for us,” Mills said. “They have a great front seven with Geno Atkins, [end] Carlos Dunlap, [end] Michael Johnson, [linebacker] Rey Maualuga and the rest of the guys.

“They have a great defense, but we’re trying to be a great offense, so we’re going to come in there with a great game plan and we’re going to be fine.”