An offensive line that is believed to be among the five best in the NFL ended the preseason with one of its top players earning some high honors from Pro Football Focus.
Josh Sitton’s move to right guard appears to be going great. So much so, he earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Preseason Team. It’s not the All-Pro team or a Pro Bowl nomination, but it’s a sign that something is going well with the Bears’ offense. And whether you’re quarterback Mike Glennon or running back Jordan Howard, the passing attack and rushing game will both benefit from Sitton’s stellar play if it continues into the regular season.
“Sitton posted an impressive 84.8 run blocking grade in three appearances this preseason, third-best among all guards. Even better was his pass blocking, as he did not give up a single pressure in August.”
These numbers seem in line with what Sitton has done in the past and what the Bears hope he will do moving forward. Sitton’s 89.3 pass block grade from PFF in 2016 was the third best among guards, while his 78.9 grade while run blocking ranked 22nd at his position. Production like that is why the Bears put out the highest bid on Sitton when he became a free agent after he was released by the Green Bay Packers late in the preseason.
Sitton was one of several Bears offensive linemen who came through with quality performances during the preseason. Cody Whitehair was given a top grade for his play against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, while backup guard/tackle Tom Compton earned a team-best 86.0 grade in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.
What might stand out the most about performances from Whitehair and Compton is their play at multiple positions. Compton started at left guard with the first-team offense in Week 1 before moving over to right tackle with the 2’s. Whitehair’s game against the Titans came while he played left guard instead of center, where he turned in one of the best seasons from a Bears offensive lineman in recent memory.
Sure, the offensive line proved it could hold its own despite Kyle Long’s absence. But with Long’s status for Week 1 still up in the air, versatility along the line will be very important. But as long as Sitton and Whitehair are still around to anchor the middle, the Bears should be in a good place.