Bears

Bears Grades: Forgettable day for offensive line vs. Vikings

bearscutleroline122015.png

Bears Grades: Forgettable day for offensive line vs. Vikings

Problems with the offensive line began with the Bears’ first snap from scrimmage and continued, overall unusual for a group whose highest sacks allowed before Sunday was three (Oakland, Washington) and ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks per pass play.

A holding penalty on center Hroniss Grasu on the opening snap nullified a 35-yard run by Matt Forte. Grasu also whiffed on a block of defensive tackle Tom Johnson, from which Johnson took down running back Jeremy Langford for a four-yard loss.

Cutler was sacked on each of the first three possessions, although the first two arguably were perhaps more on Cutler than the offensive line, with Cutler holding the football too long on the first and then being unable to elude linebacker Chad Greenway’s open-field arm tackle.

“We knew he was going to hold the ball and try and go downfield at times,” Johnson said. “We were able to capitalize on that.”

[RELATED: Bridgewater scores five times as Vikings fly past Bears]

But the sack by defensive end Brian Robison looping around right tackle Kyle Long was disastrous, resulting in a strip-sack and fumble recovered by Robison after the Bears had surprised the Vikings with a successful onside kick to start the second half.

The frustrations were evident “especially the opening drive of the second half,” said guard Matt Slauson. “We knew were going for an onside and we were gassed up and ready to go. We felt good, were excited, just the execution falling apart.”

Moon's Grade: F

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

6-8trubiskyqbs.jpg
USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.