O-Line 'Em Up: Jay Cutler, Receivers Deserve Blame for Sacks
The Chicago Bears do not have a great offensive line. That was apparent again on Sunday when they failed in four tries to score from the one-yard-line against the Lions. And after finishing in the middle of the pack in sacks allowed last year, Chicago is ranked second to last after Week 1 with four sacks allowed.
But not all sacks are created equal, and in the Bears' case, a big part of the problem is either Jay Cutler or the wide receivers. Last year Cutler was third in the league in sacks where the sack took place three seconds or more after the snap -- 19 of Cutler's sacks came on 3-plus second sacks. The average sack last year took place 2.7 seconds after the snap, three seconds is a good, if admittedly rough, demarcation point of when a quarterback should know that he's about to be staring through his ear hole.
The Bears saw much of the same on Sunday. Cutler was sacked four times, but three of those four sacks came when Cutler held the ball for four seconds or longer -- those three sacks were three of the four longest in the NFL this weekend. One of the sacks came when he stepped out of bounds 5.6 seconds after the snap. The Bears' line isn't filled with All-Pros, but Anthony Munoz and Jonathan Ogden would have trouble when the quarterback is holding the ball that long.
That doesn't necessarily mean that it's really Cutler's fault either. Chicago has one of the worst groups of wide receivers in the league, so it's possible that the problem is as much Cutler not having anyone open as it is him waiting too long to try to make a play. But whatever the problem is, the Bears are making life very tough for their offensive linemen.
NOT HIS FAULT: Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers was another quarterback who taxed his offensive line by holding the ball in 2009 (he was second in the league to only Ben Roethlisberger with 23 sacks of 3-plus seconds). But when the Packers gave up three sacks on Opening Day, it wasn't Rodgers fault. All three sacks were recorded in less than three seconds. Tackles Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton each gave up 1.5 sacks.
WORK TO DO : When the 49ers drafted Anthony Davis, some draft experts wondered if the talented but unpolished tackle would be ready to start right away. He's earned a starting job, but one week into the season, there are still plenty of reasons to think he's not really ready.
Davis allowed two sacks, the most of any offensive lineman on the first week of the season. Both times he was beaten by speed to the outside, although Davis' quick feet are one of his best attributes.