1st in a Series; Ten Most Important Bears in 2014.....Jordan Mills

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Windy City Gridiron - Being who you thought we were since 2005!
    The 10 Most Important Bears of 2014 - #10 Jordan Mills

    By Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.@wiltfongjr on Jul 8 2014, 11:00a 49
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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    For the 6th straight year, I'm bringing you whom I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Starting off the list at #10 is second year right tackle Jordan Mills.

    Statistics only tell some of the story. Grading services do a great job, but even those numbers need to be taken in context to gain the full understanding from play to play. Leadership is impossible to measure and it's hard to determine how solid the depth is behind a player until that player goes down for a length of time.

    When I sit down each off season to formulate my list of the 10 Most Important Chicago Bears, I'm taking a lot into account, but what it really boils down to is a hunch. It's all very subjective and there really are no right or wrong answers. It's all done to generate some intelligent discussion here on Windy City Gridiron.

    I truly believe that football starts in the trenches, but I've never had an offensive or defensive lineman at #1 in my list.

    Some refuse to look at the coaches when thinking about importance, but I've had some coaches make an appearance on my lists through the years.

    Football is the ultimate team sport and having one superstar player propel your team to a championship is never going to happen. An elite athlete can get your team over the hump, but it takes each player on the football field doing their one eleventh to find team success.

    The first guy on my list did his 1/11, but he still has room to grow.

    The Bears didn't expect Jordan Mills to step in as a rookie and beat out J'Marcus Webb for the right tackle job, but he showed just enough in camp and preseason to give the coaches confidence.

    He struggled at times, but he showed flashes that he could be the long term answer at right tackle. His first game against the Cincinnati Bengals was probably his best game of the year, even though he held onto the job for all 16 games.

    He gave up a lot of hurries, although I feel it's not as high a number as many think. In my final Sackwatch tally, I had Mills responsible for 3.25 sacks. Even with the low number of sacks allowed, he has plenty of room to improve.

    The Bears left pseudo-tight end Eben Britton in to help out on the right side quite a bit last year. Starting tight end Martellus Bennett and the running backs also chip helped for Mills some too. The Bears also schemed to help the rookie out at times, but that's all ok. The Bears knew what they had in their offensive line, and they game-planned accordingly.

    Mills far exceeded my expectations for a rookie 5th round draft pick, and the o-line played some very solid football in 2013. The unit must to continue to grow in 2014.

    If the offense wants to keep building off of last year, they'll need Mills to be on an island more often. The less the Bears need to help him the better. If Britton has his snaps cut, that will be a good indication on how the line is doing.

    If Jordan Mills can take a big step from year one to year two, the offense will be able to be more efficient and it will open up even more of the playbook for head coach Marc Trestman.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Once again courtesy of our friends at WCG is a series on the ten most important Bears players for 2014. Players whose performance or continued growth are key to the Bears moving forward from last years 8-8 season. These are always well done pieces and I'll post then as they appear.

    Despite some of the criticism about his pass blocking and a lower then expected ranking from analysts at PFF I still believe we did well in drafting this kid. He was only a 5th round pick for cryin' out loud and yet he won the position hands down over guys like Webb, Britton,Scott and Brown and overall held up pretty well for a rookie.

    The author credits him with just 3.25 sacks allowed which IMHO for a rookie OT ain't too bad. Hell we had oafs like Webb and OMG giving up that many in a single game! Even when his man had him beat I never saw him just shrug and give up on the block the way Webb did so often. Mills would peal back and try to do whatever he could to press the guy and give his QB just a split second longer and a little more space to make the throw.

    I don't deny the kid needs to step up his game a little but this OLine is becoming a very tight knit group both on and off the field so he'll have help from the others as he adapts even more to the game this year. The last time I was this content with out two starting OTs we had Tate and Miller playing back around 2005 or 2006. I like Mills and I think he'll continue to improve but we're not without an alternative if he doesn't, When Eben Britton took over for Mills in that last game of the 2013 season we didn't really lose much.
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  3. BossK

    BossK Veteran SuperFan

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    I am still in shock over how our offensive line and our w.r. corps have transformed in the last couple of years. Mills' production last year was miles ahead of where we were the year before. And, as has been stated, there is no reason to believe that he will not continue to improve with experience and an offseason conditioning and learning more from coaches and other players.

    I agree also with the OP stating that games are won or lost in the trenches, it does not matter if Peyton F. Manning is running the show, if he is on his ass he cannot make the throws he needs to, and the offense will suck- something the Bears were doing on the regular with Ohmyhell and the turnstyle playing up front. This year I am really hoping to see the right side be even stronger; if Long and Mills can really blow some people off the ball, and move the LOS back creating the road-grader holes that I think they are capable of, this team could look like the 90's cowboys- I don't honestly believe that Emmitt, Aikman, Irvin and co. had anything that we don't have in Chicago right now- except the road graders up front. I realize that I just compared JayCut, Forte, and Bmarsh/AJ to HOF'ers- but I will stand by it. The talent is there, execution, and help up front will make the difference.
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  4. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    My hope is that Emery continues to bring in quality OL draft talent (and I include Mills here) so that we don't have to depend upon higher priced FA talent like Slauson and Bushrod. Hey, I'm thrilled that we got these guys for now, but it sure looks like we have the scouting department (and Emery) to build our own talent now on OL, and we have (for now) Kromer who understands how to develop our projects.

    Trestman has helped this OL by getting our QB to get rid of the ball a bit quicker than in years past. Prior to last year I almost had an aneurysm watching Cutler hold onto the ball until he had the inevitable sack - or worse, a fumble or int by hanging onto the ball too long and then suffering the consequences. I really believe part of the OL improvement has been due to QB improvement under Trestman.

    Mills did a fine job last year for a rookie late round pick. I hope we continue to bring these kind of guys in through the draft. One last thought regarding the OL in general. We still have crappy run-blocking by this OL. Forte is pretty much getting his yardage on his own effort. Not many holes are being opened up for him.....certainly not as often as they should be. This needs to be an area that sees improvement in 2014. Our run blocking really is sub par, but fans are so thrilled about Cutler having fewer sacks, that they've given the OL a "pass" on the crappy run blocking last year.
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  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Well regardless of whether we draft them or sign them as FAs if they're any good eventually they'll get the big bucks and we'll pay it because keeping an OL intact is a big thing. Bushrod is really the only guy we stretched for and we didn't have much of a choice there if we wanted to keep Cutler alive and still playing QB for us.

    Slauson came cheap for a year and played his way into a better deal but even his new contract isn't a back breaker @ $3.2 mil per year average. Not when you compare it to some of the mega deal a few OGs have gotten. I hope Emery can keep bringing guys like him in all over the place. Pay 'em a minimum for a year and given 'em a shot at playing themselves into a better deal. Whose this years version of Slauson?

    I agree, they do need to get better at run blocking but that usually comes over time as they come together as a unit as opposed to 5 separate guys. A zone blocking scheme like they run is like a dance. It takes more timing, coordination and athleticism than a power scheme but once they get it down it's tough to defeat. The Broncos made Pro Bowl RBs out of late round pick and UDFA with theirs for years.

    The first thing they had to get good at was protecting Cutler and so far so good in that regard. I expect this year should be even better and they we'll see some improvement in the run blocking as well. The other thing I like is that we seem to have some decent depth for a change. Our bench is stronger than our starters used to be. Praise the Lord and pass the Old Style.
  6. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    Is it just me or does it seem like we have more confidence in this offense than we have had after a 10-6 season?

    Improvements at every single level, with WRs, o-line, and QB play. Even at TE and RB we have Top level play, just a concern about depth.

    JABF has made the point that our ability to run block is important. I sure hope they can improve because there will be games where we need to be able to be successful at running the ball even if the defense knows that we are going to run. There are situation when we need to be able to get 1 yard in order to keep the drive alive.

    I'm still totally excited about this season, because what we saw in a 8-8 season, what a refreshing change!!!

    The defense will improve, but I honestly think that we must temper our expectations, simply because of some many changes in personnel and coaching, but the arrows are still pointing up on that side of the ball also.

    Do we have enough to win it all? Maybe not, but I think we are going to be competitive, and you just never know.

    Come on training camp!
  7. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    You know I honestly don't see any more lack of depth than any other top teams have so I'm not sure where that idea comes from. We may be a man short in one or two spots but we're also a man or two over at others.

    For instance. We lack a second really good all around TE but how many other teams have the WR duo we have with another potential star (Wilson) waiting in the wings for his chance to fly too.

    Same thing at RB. We have arguably the best all around RB in the NFL but we also just drafted one of the top college RBs in the nation over the past couple of years. He may be unproven at this level but his talent isn't exactly unproven.

    With the exception of LT we look almost two deep across the OL with guys like Britton and DLP as backups who might be starting elsewhere. Both actually have been so that's not just depth that's vet depth.

    The jury is still out on a #2 QB to equal McCown but we have quality prospects and as long as Trestman and Cavanaugh are in charge of developing these guys it's not as if the situation is completely hopeless.

    We tend to be altogether too focused on things that may or may not be an issue and as far as depth goes on both sides of the ball we're far better off than many other teams. I just don't see any real problems with our depth except the couple of spots mentioned.
  8. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    When I was talking about a concern in depth it was specifically the two positions that you also mentioned, TE and RB.

    The o-line now has depth that is better than most of the starters from just a couple of years ago. All of this adds up to a real reason to be excited.

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