Offensive Line Providing Little Protection

Article excerpt

Byline: Lindsey Willhite

Jay Cutler dropped back to pass 21 times in the first half Saturday night.

On five occasions, Oakland's defensive line made him taste the Soldier Field grass in the Bears' 32-17 exhibition loss.

This wasn't the work of a potentially vengeful defensive coordinator trying corner blitzes and tricking things up.

This wasn't Cutler holding the ball for an extra second to allow a Mike Martz fly pattern to take flight.

This was the Bears starting offensive line getting whipped at the basics.

"Of course, we have to play a lot better," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "The protection, the amount of sacks a of course we can't allow that to happen."

Yet it happened from the start.

On the Bears' second play from scrimmage, 300-pound veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly engaged new right guard Lance Louis and tossed him aside to earn a 9-yard sack.

"I can't speak on anybody else," Louis said. "But I think I could have did a number of things better protection-wise and run block-wise."

He could have spoken for left tackle Chris Williams, too.

On the game's next snap, defensive end Kamerion Wimbley blazed past Williams' outside shoulder for an 11-yard smashing of Cutler.

That bit of back-to-back slacking inspired the first spate of boos this season, but the 52,258 fans that showed up weren't done seeing Cutler and Wimbley meet in the backfield. …