Bernstein: Bad offensive line is undermining Bears

The Bears' troubles up front magnify their other problems.
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(670 The Score) If only the Bears were as good at actual blocking as they seem to be at blocking out negative thoughts and feelings, more of us might believe that they're as good as they want to think they are.

We will hear soon from coach Matt Nagy and his players that they're 5-2 and still in decent playoff position in the NFC. And that may be true enough for now, but a 24-10 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles on Monday night exposed the primary limiting factor to any real aspirations -- the Bears can't win enough individual battles on the line to establish any kind of rhythm or identity. Their fat guys are getting beat, and that means nothing works.

That's at the base of everything, and the problem is that it means so much else has to be close to perfect for them to gain any yards or score any points. Nagy has railed about attention to detail, but only because he chooses to require so many.

This isn't to excuse issues of play-calling and personnel choices that are also conspiring to limit production, not by a long shot. Any witches' brew of a game plan these coaches stirred up that involved this much Demetrius Harris, a reliance on third-down passes well short of the sticks and the continued presumption that Cordarrelle Patterson is a legitimate running back merits skepticism. Pre-snap penalties keep preventing the Bears from controlling tempo in critical situations, as do ongoing problems with alignments and formations that require forehead-slapping timeouts.

Nick Foles can't move, either. We knew that, but that doesn't make his inability to extend a play any less frustrating. Quarterback -- especially after the switch -- was expected to be consistent at the very least, a higher floor that kept the Bears competitive by avoiding mistakes and not missing big chances for explosive plays. So much for that, with the position's problems exacerbated by the acceleration of Foles' internal clock due to his leaky protections.

There will be time to ask why this defense was so perplexed by fly-motion action, waggles and boots, why the Bears missed so many tackles, why Akiem Hicks too often lapsed in discipline and why they surrendered nearly six yards per rush.

But Nagy first told us it was about the quarterback, and then it was their need to "calibrate" and after that his internally directed rant about "details." It's his offense, the one for which he assembled an entirely new coaching staff.

It's not good enough.

We can be pretty sure that the defense is solid, despite Rams coach Sean McVay having a good night by testing his opponents' eyes and reads and beating the Bears with quick-breaking huddles that caught them confused and out of position. That unit will keep the Bears viable for some time.

The issue is how to score enough for that defense to matter, and there are no easy answers. Nothing is easy for the Bears' offense when nothing gets blocked up. It's all so hurried and erratic immediately after the snap and insecurely strategized in a way that defaults to cute over tough because the tough just isn't there.

They're losing the line of scrimmage, which makes football a difficult proposition. It's magnified for a Bears team this deeply invested in their latest unrealized hope that it would finally look better.

Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.