View From the Moon: Lining up the offense

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View From the Moon: Lining up the offense

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Posted: 9:50 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Worth a look.

The Bears are expected to address their offensive line with one or even both of their first two picks, whether in those current slots or up or down by virtue of a trade. It could happen.

And it is also a distinct possibility that the Bears will pick two offensive linemen before round five for the first time since Jerry Angelos first (2002) Bears draft. One would be within those first two rounds. And last Friday, the Bears held a private workout for Louisville tackle Byron Stingily, who at 6-5, 315 pounds, ran a 4.86 in his 40 at the Cardinals Pro Day and impressed the Bears enough to take an up-close second look at a talent not expected to go in those early rounds.

After what the Bears found with JMarcus Webb in last years seventh round, Stingily is a name to listen for on draft day. More than a dozen teams have been circling and best guess is that he will not last if the Bears wait past their pick in the fourth round.

Center Olin Kreutz is all but a lock to return and is the teams No. 1 veteran priority. That takes the need at center down a very significant notch. It also means right guard also is in place with Roberto Garza, one of the potential options for a Kreutz replacement but one that would have meant just moving the need area one place to the right.

Important changes

Two new voices of major significance are being heard at Halas Hall in the run-up to this draft.

One is Tim Ruskell, director of player personnel, who has revamped some key elements of Bears scouting processes. Insiders say that Ruskell has shifted some of the often-excessive attention given to prospects targeted in later rounds and turned that on higher-round possibilities.

The other is Mike Tice. The offensive line coach took an increased role in the offense overall during last seasons off week, one of the major reasons the play-calling changed so dramatically at that point of the season.

Tice, with his impeccable credentials as a position coach and perspectives from his head-coaching time, now is playing a very big part in draft plans. Bears coaches have always had input into the draft; with this draft and the lockout theyve had more time to do film study, workouts and all the rest.

But Tice is a player. What that suggests is that the lines will be addressed early and often, and probably pretty well.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears reactive offense in need of radical reversal

Bears reactive offense in need of radical reversal

The space between games is typically filled with all kinds of words, sometimes with sound and fury signifying nothing, but sometimes revealing and, if you are an 0-2 football team, concerning.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, two games into his gig in place of Adam Gase, has underscored the John Fox philosophy of their team being a running football team. But if that is to be the Bears’ identity, it was not apparent from Loggains.

Instead of the Bears moving toward a team that can impose its will on a defense and run its plan, Loggains indicated that the Bears’ identity depends upon what an opponent lets it be. The sense is an offense that is reacting, not acting.

“Well I think it depends on how the defense is playing you,” Loggains said in response to an offense-identity question. “Some of the stuff, they're going to play single-high, there are things that are advantageous vs. it, and Philadelphia started playing a lot more Cover-2 and clouding Alshon [Jeffery] a little bit in the second half. It really depends on what the defense is doing to you.”

Defenses can dictate what offenses can do or be. If a team is willing to sell out to stop something, it usually can. If the offense is being denied its primary route to success, then it behooves the unit and its boss to exploit whatever weakness is created within a defense gearing to stop something.

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Through two games, in which the Bears were either leading (Houston) or down by two points (Philadelphia), only five teams have run the football fewer times than the Bears (38). This after the organization invested heavy capital in a physical guard (Josh Sitton) and shuffled the offensive line to work Sitton in.

One adjustment expected Sunday vs. the Dallas Cowboys is an increased role for rookie running back Jordan Howard, who flashed in his three carries in the loss to the Eagles but saw the offense turn back to Jeremy Langford. Howard is bigger and blessed with greater power than either Langford or Ka’Deem Carey, who is out this week with a hamstring strain.

After running the football 46 percent of the time last year, even with a 6-10 record, the Bears are running on just 37 percent of their plays in 2016 in spite of presumed upgrades at left guard (Sitton), right tackle (Bobby Massie), right guard (moving Kyle Long back to his preferred spot) and center (rookie Cody Whitehair, a No. 2 pick).

“We would like to be able to run the ball when we need to,” Loggains stated. “We want to stay balanced, we want to play the games on our terms, and right now, we need to run the ball better to play the game in our terms.”

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