Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune attributes a good part of the Bears mediocrity to problems in the offensive line:
“The Bears didn’t hit them often enough and started way too slow in falling behind 14-0. [Right tackle Kyle] Long joked he would set his alarm clock an hour earlier next Sunday. There are some key parts here and Long has been pretty steady in a new role most of the season. Left tackle Charles Leno might well be a keeper. In between, the Bears could stand to get better.
“Besides making their field goals, getting better up front is the best way to help them prevail in close games.”
Matt Slauson didn’t do much wrong Sunday and he’s a pretty solid starter up front, as well. Hroniss Grasu will get a year in the weight room before the Bears give up on him and I’m guessing Will Montgomery will still be around to pick up the slack as a less than ideal replacement if Grasu doesn’t develop. But right guard is a serious issue and none of the options since the season started have been palatable. That should be the Bears primary target. With lots of teams around the league needed offensive line help, not to mention most of the NFC North, I’d expect there will be a lot of competition finding help in that area, especially in the draft.
I might add that though he didn’t concentrate on it, Biggs carefully said that the Bears need to get better “up front”. That includes the defensive line where the Bears have Eddie Goldman and Jarvis Jenkins appears to be serviceable. But they don’t have much else and five technique defensive end looks to also be a major target for an upgrade this offseason. More pass rush up the middle in the nickel formation would also be welcome.
Football games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. It appears that the Bears have a lot of work to do.