Originally posted on Sports Mockery  |  Last updated 2/15/14
Chicago Bears News - The Chicago Bears upgraded the left tackle position last season, getting rid of J’Marcus Webb who was horribly inconsistent and signing two time Pro Bowl tackle Jermon Bushrod to a five year / $35.97 million dollar contract. The Bears’ offensive line was definitely improved this season, going from being one of the very worst lines in 2012 ranked at number 25 to one of the very best in 2013, ranked at number 4. Fundamentally Sound Bushrod was recently selected to the All-Fundamentals team due to his extraordinary blocking technique, which fosters better on-field performance and inherent safety benefits for young players. He keeps his pad level low and has an incredibly balanced base despite his enormous 6 foot five inch, 320 pound frame. Jermon loves to work with young kids, teaching them football and to “visualize and rize” as is his slogan, a hand-me-down from his position coach at Towson University John Donatelli. His charity organization, www.visualizeandrize.org is dedicated to teaching young players not just to play football but to be leaders on and off the field and to remain positive while striving to fulfill their dreams. Blind Side Hits The left tackle is the most valuable player on the field, period. Without an offensive line giving the quarterback time to pass or keeping lanes free for the running back, nothing good can happen. Offensive linemen rarely get the credit they deserve, unless they are the blind side tackle. Jermon Bushrod looked like maybe he wasn’t quite the upgrade he was supposed to be last season. While he only allowed 4 sacks on the season (a fantastic number), he did allow nine quarterback hits and 42 hurries. That is not a great showing when you consider the fast-action passing offense of head coach Marc Trestman which gets the ball out in a hurry and is so highly revered in the NFL- A Good Push What Jermon did not slack at was his run blocking. Matt Forte, Michael Bush and Alshon Jeffrey gained most of the rushing yards for the team. When running behind Bushrod, they averaged 5.03 yards per carry, good enough for 12th in the league. His run blocking was exemplary on the inside tackle runs and he proved he could get outside fast when Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffrey, or Brandon Marshall would step into the defensive end and Bushrod was responsible to pick up the outside block. Teamed up on the left side with Matt Slauson, who in my eyes should have made the Pro Bowl team last season easily, Bushrod maintained his balance well, stayed upright and opened up the running game. What You Probably Didn’t See Jermon was all by himself. Watching game film or Tom Thayer’s breakdowns, you see every other Bears lineman pass blocking in a pocket formation but everyone is sliding right the majority of the time. This is probably to move the strong side defensive end farther out to give rookie right tackle Jordan Mills, who also had an outstanding season, more time. Bushrod was in a wider line split and center Roberto Garza was in the traffic lane to help Slauson or Long. That leaves Bushrod with lone responsibility against the best pass rushers in the NFL. Looking back at the games, both Bushrod and Mills shut down the insanely dangerous pass rush of the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumerville. Another point you have to consider is the blocking scheme; a good example of this is the crossing slants with a right-to-left ladder. In this scheme, the tackles are supposed to force the rusher to loop around behind the quarterback while the running back, interior linemen and right tackle double-team the defensive tackles unless releasing on a blitz. The quarterback is naturally going to step up behind and to the outside of the left guard on this scheme and throw to the deepest open receiver. Jay Cutler didn’t step up very far on many such schemes and Bushrod was subsequently knocked for a hurry even though he did exactly what he was supposed to do. Another positive was that his play in the last five games of the season far surpassed all expectations, he allowed only one sack, two hits and six pressures. The Money Even though Jermon Bushrod did play very well, especially at the end of the season, he was a definite upgrade from the downright shoddy play we saw the year before.  He’s not performing at a level consistent with his huge salary, plus signing bonus and his $7.3 million cap hit for the 2014 season. He will need to play with the same enthusiasm and perfect technique all year next year, like he did the last month of the regular season. Author informationDamien GreenwellFeatured Columnist at Sports MockeryI'm kind of an amateur everything. Mostly because no one wants to pay meTwitterFacebookGoogle+The post The (Chicago Bears) Blind Side: Jermon Bushrod appeared first on Sports Mockery.
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