Former #Bears guard Kyle Long live on @nflnetwork with some interesting thoughts on his old team, saying the offseason focus shouldn't be on QB Mitch Trubisky -- they need to find a power back to complement their "Pro Bowl talent" scatbacks and invest in the offensive line.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 19, 2020
Long emphasizes the blame for the 2019 season shouldn’t entirely rest on Trubisky’s shoulders, but also on the entire offensive line. Long’s not just trying to let Trubisky off the hook here, football is a team sport after all, and if you look at the Bears’ offensive report card for this past season, you’ll see that the problem is not just under center. Some of the weight of the lack of OL production falls on Long himself, who continued to be plagued by injuries before retirement and needing to be replaced by Rashad Coward. Long brings this up himself in the interview, stating “I hold myself responsible as somebody who wasn’t able to stay healthy.”
Besides Long, Bobby Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Charles Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6) at tackle.
So, while it’s easy to point fingers at Trubisky and make him a scapegoat, the reality of the situation is that the Bears’ 2019 offensive struggles weren’t born in a vacuum, and there is a lot of room for improvement before the 2020 season begins.
You can read Long’s full quote below:
If the Bears can’t run the ball, they’re not able to pass the ball, and that holds true for any team in the league. You take the pressure off the quarterback with the run game and you keep the opposing offenses off the field.
When Mitch was drafted, he came into a team with a power back that was an All-Pro and you had two pro bowl guards and you had a litany of people around him on the outside and the coaching staff that made his job relatively easy. Granted he was a young player, he had tremendous success, so the expectations were high. Coming into the 2nd year, there was a change in scheme, now you’re looking at a different offensive coordinator in his 2nd year as a starter. With (Mark) Helfrich and the run game and injuries up front, it made it really difficult for Mitch to be able to settle in and have that comfort level to be able to fire the ball where he wants to, when he wants to.
You can watch the whole interview here.