Bears OL getting nasty too nasty?

911829.png

Bears OL getting nasty too nasty?

According to the stat experts at Pro Football Focus, the Bears offensive line has improved from laughingstock to No. 22 overall. The group is ranked No. 22 overall 25th in pass blocking, seventh in run blocking and would rate considerably higher but for its No. 30 slot for penalties. More on that in moment.

The balance-oriented Bears have had no game with fewer than 93 rushing yards through six games in 2012. Last year they were sub-90 in three of the first six (with a 3-3 record). In 2010 they rushed for fewer than 80 yards in five games of the 4-3 start.

As coaches and players maintain, running the ball well is in some measure a state of mind. For all of the focus on Ndamukong Suhs savage ways, the meanest states of mind last Monday appeared to have resided in ones blocking Suh and his associates.

The state of mind on the Bears offensive line is becoming nasty. Sometimes even a little too nasty.

Case by case nasty

Gabe Carimi wants to kill guys, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. He gets himself out of whack because hes being a little overly aggressive. So, were going to settle him down, make sure he brings his feet with him on some of these blocks where it does look ugly or hes getting those penalties. But he plays extremely hard. Theyre all playing hard right now, but he plays very hard.

Gabe Carimi is at right tackle in part because he is a mauler in the Tice assessment. He has become a penalty risk the past two games, not simply because of poor play, but for being too aggressive.

Ive just got to calm down on a couple things, Carimi said. A couple of penalties here and there. Its just my style of play, though. Im a very aggressive player.

Yeah, Im overaggressive, but I do a lot of good things when Im overaggressive, too. There are some times I need to just bring it back a little bit.

On the other side, JMarcus Webb has brought it up a bit, quite a bit from the debacle in Green Bay. He was the Bears only offensive lineman not penalized in the Detroit game. He has played 424 snaps this season and allowed a total of three sacks.

Matt Fortes 39-yard run on the Bears fifth play Sunday? Between Webb and left guard Chilo Rachal.

Interior nasty

Right guard Lance Louis long has fit that physical mold. Roberto Garza was a guard before moving to center.

Chilo Rachal replaced Chris Spencer at left guard after the Green Bay game. He wasnt the only reason, obviously, but the Bears averaged 104 rushing yards in the first two games. With Rachal at left guard, the Bears have averaged 145 over the last five.

Rachal, self-described as a mauler, was hit with a personal-foul penalty in the fourth quarter of the Detroit game. It wasnt entirely a random act of unkindness.

Where Suh has drawn fines for stomping a player on the ground and hits on quarterbacks, Rachal drew his flag for going to the defense of running back Michael Bush after he was tackled.

I want to keep guys off my running backs, Rachal said. If I feel that a linebacker still trying to go after someone, then apparently the running back is still running with the ball. So I just want to keep him off of our guy.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

Vinnie Hinostroza, rookies pace Blackhawks past Avalanche

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

Dwyane Wade sounded every bit like a frustrated 35-year old father when talking about the repeated ills and so-called growing pains of his Bulls, as they surrendered yet another game against a sub-.500 team.

Sometimes it's the New York Knicks whom the Bulls are offering temporary refuge. Or maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves as they are all-too-generous to roll out the welcome mat for returning figures to Chicago.

Tuesday it was the Dallas Mavericks, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, who stormed into the United Center and escaped with a 99-98 win, courtesy of Wesley Matthews' triple with 11.7 seconds left followed by him locking down Jimmy Butler on the ensuing possession.

Wade was forced to take a contested 21-footer that went awry, but the Bulls' ills went far beyond the last two possessions, when the Mavericks exploited their strategy yet again.

"Either you learn the lesson or figure out," Wade said. "Keep putting your hand on the hot stove every day.

"We just gotta figure out not to put our hands on that stove. And understand when we come in the kitchen, that stove is hot, don't touch it. As I continue to say, this is a very young team and they have to play in these games and have to go through these moments. The one thing you want, whether it's this year or next year, is to not make the same mistakes."

The Bulls are apparently insistent on touching the stove and keep burning themselves, the most recent time with the confusion or the bad strategy in defending the Mavericks' final offensive possession.

Deron Williams found himself with Nikola Mirotic defending him off a switch from Jimmy Butler. Not the quickest afoot, Mirotic gave Williams an easy path to the basket and Wade was the backside help, not wanting to leave Matthews on the wing for a triple.

But with the bench commanding Wade to help, Williams easily found Matthews for an open 3 as Wade had no help for his man. With the Bulls up two, one could see how Wade didn't want to leave Matthews.

"I'll have to go back and watch, but it looks like Deron got downcourt, Wade went over to help and we didn’t rotate accordingly," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We obviously need to do a better job of staying in front of the other end."

Mirotic was supposed to be brought back slowly in his return from strep throat, but he played the entire fourth quarter and 22 minutes overall, having lost eight pounds with his illness that had him miss four games.

[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]

Their issues were game-long and have been seasonlong as the Mavericks were supposed to absorb a shellacking from a Bulls team that felt a 25-point beatdown in Texas last month.

Instead, they would've been happy with settling for an escape when Butler rose up over his college teammate Matthews for a 20-foot wing jumper with 22.8 seconds left.

Butler nearly added a triple-double and clutch moment to his growing resume with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds but was dogged by Matthews all night, the defender who wouldn't give him airspace, went chest-to-chest and even earned a technical foul when he felt Butler exaggerated some contact in the third quarter.

"He took away my space, wouldn't let me get to my spot," Butler said of Matthews. "Good for him. I should've did something different."

Wade missed 13 of his 21 shots, scoring 17 with five rebounds on his 35th birthday

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 21 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn't have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 points and Seth Curry's 18, as Barnes, Matthews and Curry combined for eight triples — spreading the Bulls out and picking them apart defensively.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 points in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The energy was tardy to the party, as they shot just 41 percent in the first half but woke up a little in the third quarter — continuing their all-too familiar trend of half-hearted efforts against lesser teams.

And it looks like the ever-optimistic Wade is dishing out some realism, probably something that comes with the perspective of turning 35.

"You can't keep getting stressed out or frustrated. We've been going through this all year. We'll get back in in the morning.

"Once you realize who you are, you're better off. I sleep better at night. Once we want to be a better team and start winning games, we will. I'm not mad, I'm not frustrated, I'm not stressed. Just taking the hits."