All eyes will be on the quarterback position when the Chicago Bears start training camp next month.
Incumbent starter and former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky flourished in his first season under Matt Nagy in 2018, showing a knack for making plays out of run-pass options while also putting his scrambling abilities on full display.
But Trubisky regressed in 2019, averaging a career-low 6.1 yards gained per pass attempt and rushing for 193 yards just one year after rushing for over 400 yards.
The Bears acquired journeyman signal-caller Nick Foles to compete with Trubisky for the starting job. Foles has a better deep ball and is arguably a more talented pocket passer, but health is always a concern.
It might not matter who wins the starting job.
While all the focus has been on Chicago’s open competition, far less attention has been paid to the lack of quality depth on the offensive line.
The Bears struggled to protect Trubisky and establish any semblance of a running game in 2019, then proceeded to make limited additions in the trenches during the offseason.
As such, the offensive line deserves a much closer look.
What are the changes?
The most notable change will come at offensive guard after former first-round pick Kyle Long elected to retire due to injuries.
Germain Ifedi, Rashaad Coward and Alex Bars are likely to compete for the starting job. The Bears signed Ifedi to a one-year deal, and perhaps he will have more success playing at guard instead of offensive tackle.
At the same time, Ifedi struggled to establish a foothold in Seattle, where he was consistently one of the worst offensive linemen in football and was particularly underwhelming as a pass-blocker.
Coward could certainly earn the starting job. The 25-year-old was formerly a defensive tackle before making the switch to offense. He started 10 games in place of Long last season.
Regardless, there will be question marks at the offensive guard spot, though James Daniels showed some promise in his sophomore campaign.
Can Massie stay healthy?
One of the other reasons Chicago’s offensive line struggled is Bobby Massie missed six games due to injury.
Massie had proved himself a reliable starter at the tackle spot in 2018, playing every single snap and was solid in pass protection.
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) January 26, 2019
The Bears absolutely need Massie to remain healthy in 2020.
General manager Ryan Pace did not do much to address the offensive line in the draft, meaning the onus will be on Massie and Charles Leno–who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2018–to rediscover their previous form.