The Chicago Bears offensive line was pegged as a strength coming into the season because of a powerful interior trio featuring a pair of Pro Bowl guards and a second-year center who was coming off a Pro Bowl worthy season. The tackles left something to be desired, but the overall group grade was a positive one.
It’s unfortunate right tackle Bobby Massie will be remembered for being beaten on the drive-ending sack that ended the Bears’ comeback chances, because he actually played a quality game on Sunday. Pro Football Focus gave Massie an 85.0 grade for his performance in the site’s postgame wrap-up, which was encouraging to see after getting off to a slow start in 2016. It was also was nice to see him help spring some of the big plays in the running game, which will continue to be an important aspect of the Bears’ offense as the season moves along.
Take this run from everybody’s favorite fantasy football waiver-wire add Tarik Cohen:
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) September 13, 2017
This is an excellent run by Cohen, who uses his speed and agility to make quick cuts while not losing much speed. It’s that combination, plus some ridiculous body control that allows him to make big plays when things should have been shutdown earlier.
However, Cohen doesn’t do it alone.
After watching multiple times, I noticed Massie make blocks on two levels to help aid Cohen down the field. I highlighted the two defenders Massie clears out here:
I've circled RT Bobby Massie, who blocks guys on 2 levels. Cohen has the moves, but take a moment to appreciate Massie's run blocking here. pic.twitter.com/tBjxgJLPN1
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) September 13, 2017
The first is on a defensive end at the line of scrimmage, but Massie didn’t stop there. He would move on to the second level and take on a linebacker, clearing more operating room for Cohen along the way.
Bears tackles need to step their game up in 2017 if the offense is to make the kinds of plays that will win games, not just hang tough with good teams. Charles Leno Jr. was surprisingly one of the better pass-blocking tackles in the division last year and received a hefty raise and an extension prior to the season. Meanwhile, Massie left something to be desired as a free agent addition last year.
Perhaps he is a bit more comfortable with Dowell Loggains’ scheme after a year working though the kinks. Massie wasn’t great last year, but seemed to improve gradually as the season progressed. The Bears will need those forward steps to continue going into Week 2 against the Buccaneers.