Bears

Bears Grades: Tackles slow down fierce Raiders pass rush

forte-cutler-bears-offensive-line-insider-1004.png

Bears Grades: Tackles slow down fierce Raiders pass rush

The position group that has seemed in flux ever since the end of last season, even back into last season, for that matter, survived a wave of unanticipated upheaval and allowed the offense to function in the clutch.

Credit tackles Charles Leno, starting in place of injured left tackle Jermon Bushrod, and Kyle Long with superb overall handling of rush linebackers Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith without the Bears needing to over-commit tight ends or backs to chip our double-team. The Raiders did get to Jay Cutler for three sacks, one each by Mack, Smith and defensive end Justin Tuck, and four quarterback hits but the offense was able to generate 371 yards and finish with a 7-minute advantage in time of possession.

The line took a severe hit on the game’s third snap when center Will Montgomery was rolled up on while blocking and had to leave with an undisclosed injury. By the time the players were exiting the locker room, Montgomery’s lower left leg already was in a plaster cast.

Left guard Matt Slauson, who said he has taken a total of six snaps at center in this calendar year – all in practice –  moved to center and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Patrick Omameh moved in at left guard. The result was three-fifths of a line that had never worked together in any form.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“To have Matt calling out the ‘Mike’ [middle linebacker] points was kind of strange at first,” Long admitted. “But he’s a really bright guy. If Will Montgomery can’t go, then he’s the guy who should be in there. I think he did a great job orchestrating the offense.”

The Bears did rig some protections to contain Smith but Leno consistently displayed quick feet in pass blocking, avoiding lunging or being bull-rushed. Slauson’s work at center was generally very solid before a botched snap in the second quarter gave Oakland the ball at the Chicago 25, The problem appeared to be more a case of Jay Cutler pulling back from center before securing the football although Slauson took responsibility and said he needed to have gotten the ball all the way firmly to Cutler before engaging in his block on Oakland nose tackle Dan Williams.

[MORE: Gould has his Michael Jordan moment in win]

The line put the offense in a second-quarter hole with a holding penalty inside the Chicago 20 but the Bears were able to avoid letting the mistake cause direct damage, although they did subsequently lose the fumble on the mishandled snap to give away 7 points. Vlad Ducasse committed a false start on first down with the Bears at their 20 following a Raiders field goal.

Holding together after the loss of Montgomery so early in the game, however, was an accomplishment in itself.

“Will sets the whole offense,” Slauson said. “I knew I was in that position. Definitely not as comfortable with it, but the guys battled. The defense gave us chance after chance after chance. Having a lot of guys out, having two on the O-line out, it was tough sledding.”

Grade: B+

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

cutler-716.jpg
USA TODAY

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

After producing one-liners as amusing as “I’m looking to do the exact opposite of work,” in his reality TV debut, Jay Cutler was at it again.

The former Bears quarterback had more gems to offer in the second episode of his wife’s reality show, “Very Cavallari.” Cutler’s general apathy towards, well, everything continued.

In one of the more unintentionally funny lines of the show, Kristin Cavallari, Cutler’s wife and the star of the show, said Cutler has no game. Keep the giggles to yourselves, Bears fans.

She wistfully talked about how much fun the couple used to have early in their relationship until Cutler cut her off and said “You decided to go to bed at 8:45 every night.”

“He can be a little s*** sometimes, but he makes me laugh,” Kristin Cavallari said of her husband on the show.

That line might be something Bears fans can relate to.

While the show has plenty of your standard reality show drama, Cutler’s scenes are a humorous change of pace. The way things are going, Cutler could be in for a bigger part. In the meantime, maybe Bears fans will skip around until Cutler appears on camera.

Who knew? Bears fans, Kristin. All Bears fans knew.

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

usatsi_10875810.jpg
USA Today

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith won't be reporting to Bourbonnais with the rest of the team's rookie class Monday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. His absence isn't technically a holdout until veterans are required to report on July 19.

Smith is among several top-10 picks without a contract but is the first who will grab headlines. Chicago's training camp starts earlier than most this year because of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game on August 4. The extra week of camp makes Smith's contract status less concerning, even if it spills into the first few practices.

Still, we aren't too far removed from Joey Bosa's lengthy contract dispute with the Los Angeles Chargers that centered around offset language and his signing bonus.

Generally speaking, teams want offset language in rookie contracts as protection in the event they decide to cut a player in his fourth season. If the contract doesn't include offset language, the player is entitled to all of the money in that fourth season from his original team while also eligible to sign elsewhere. Teams don't want to pay that money while the player wants the ability to double dip.

This is one of the few issues that can result in a holdout now that the rookie wage scale is in place. Smith, most likely, isn't arguing over dollars. Instead, it's about contract language, which can get dicey.

We'll know more about how far apart the Bears and Smith are on his contract come July 19, when this disagreement will officially become a holdout.