The Chicago Bears have spent a lot of time revamping their roster since general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox arrived in early 2015.
One move that hasn’t quite paid off is the acquisition of tackle Bobby Massie. The 28-year-old inked a three-year, $18 million ($6.5 million guaranteed) last off-season.
The Bears’ offensive line performed well as a unit a year ago, but Massie’s performance overall was underwhelming. He finished with a 71.9 season grade from Pro Football Focus, his worst ranking since 2013. He has slow feet and that doesn’t help him often in the run blocking aspect or as a pass protector.
We saw that first hand in Sunday’s 23-17 loss as Massie whiffed on a block against Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed on 4th and goal with eight seconds left. Moments later, Reed came free after a maneuvering Mike Glennon and the sack ended the game.
All four of Glennon’s sacks on the day were the quarterback’s fault. The first sack came from Vic Beasley Jr. as Glennon stepped up into the wrong spot in the pocket. Massie was blocking Beasley on the play.
The second sack came from Reed in the second quarter as he took down Glennon on the quarterback’s lone roll out of the afternoon. Expect offensive coordinator Dowel Loggains to reconsider having Glennon do such a thing while he is the starter.
Sack No. 3 came on a nickel blitz from cornerback Brian Poole. Glennon had open receivers downfield but failed to look up quick enough.
Lastly, the fourth sack which I described above was mainly Massie’s fault. He let the bull rushing Reed fly by him easily forcing Glennon to move to the left of the pocket with no receivers in the end zone open. Glennon should have thrown a pass earlier but on the last play of the game, he needed that extra second to make his read.
Certainly, the pocket presence of Glennon didn’t help anyone out on the Bears’ offensive line, but again Massie didn’t perform well.
Regardless, Massie now has 63 starts under his belt including 16 in Chicago. His role as a starter is cemented with the Bears. In reality, it shouldn’t be, but his veteran status and experience give him that.
Early season struggles are nothing new for Massie. Last season, 19 of Massie’s 37 pressures allowed (51 percent) came in the first four games of the season including three of his four sacks allowed, per Pro Football Focus.
The Bears rewarded left tackle Charles Leno Jr. with a four-year, $37 million extension which included $21.59 million in guaranteed money late last month. So, the left side is set for quite a while.
On the right side, it is Massie’s job to lose. If I’m the Bears I can’t be very pleased with his performance as of late.
Film review will be telling and with first-year offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn in charge, don’t expect him to have much favoritism.
The Bears’ offensive line is a strength on this team, but Massie is the lone concern in my eyes. He was a questionable addition during free agency last March. If the Bears feel like they’ve had enough with Massie, they can cut him with just $500,000 next year. He is owed a $1 million roster bonus by the third league day in 2018.
Other options currently on the 53-man roster are tackle Bradley Sowell and guard/tackle Tom Compton.
Sowell, 28, has made 21 starts since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi in 2012. He made 12 starts at left tackle with Arizona in 2013, grading out as the worst tackle in the league by Pro Football Focus. He started nine games between left and right tackle last season with Seattle.
Compton is also 28 and came to the Bears this off-season with 10 starts to his name between tackle and guard with Washington (2012-15). Neither player is seen as an athletic upgrade over Massie. Compton held his own as the starting left guard in Week 1.
On the practice squad, the Bears have three offensive linemen including preseason standout Dieugot Joseph and versatile pieces Brandon Greene and Cameron Lee. Out of the bunch, Joseph looks to be the most gifted as he played extensively at both right and left tackle in the preseason finale against Cleveland.
The Bears promoted linebacker Jonathan Anderson and wide receiver Tanner Gentry this week from the practice squad. Both were needed due to injuries, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Joseph crack the 53-man roster at some point this season.
It is becoming more evident that Massie is not the future. If the Bears want to find out how they can fix the right tackle position, finding a young replacement is necessary. I’m not saying, Massie is a bad player, but he is certainly not starter quality.
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