Last season, the Bears added four new pieces to their offensive line in veteran free agents Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson as well as rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills. Veteran Roberto Garza remained anchored in the middle at center.
As a result of this overhaul, the Bears had their most successful season in a long time and the previously-battered Jay Cutler only sustained 19 sacks in 11 games. Extrapolated over a 16 game season, it would have been 27 sacks, which is still fewer than the 38 he endured in 2012 and far fewer than the 52 he suffered in 2010.
As a team, Bears quarterbacks were sacked just 30 times, which tied for fourth-fewest in the NFL. That kind of pass protection is imperative if the Bears want to have sustained success as one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
In addition to the offensive line’s pass protection, they helped pave the way for Matt Forte to accumulate 1,339 rushing yards — second most in the NFL behind the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy.
Long missed the beginning of training camp with a viral infection and Mills has battled a sore foot. I’m curious to see where the line’s progress lies and whether the Bears have any kind of depth in the event a backup needs to come in spot duty.