Caleb Hanie has been sacked 11 times in his two starts, not a number that will cause much optimism for the Bears on Sunday against a Broncos' defense that is No. 9 in sack percentage.
In the seven previous games, Jay Cutler was sacked a total of just nine times.
Part of the blame for the increase in sacks is on Hanie. Without the experience of Cutler, he isn't as adept at avoiding the rush, stepping up in the pocket to let the rush fly past or buying additional time in the pocket by side-stepping the rush.
"If I need to move around a little bit, that's what I'll do," Hanie said. "But I'm going to try to make as many plays as I can in the pocket and get the ball to our guys."
Hanie would obviously feel more confident in the pocket if he weren't running for his life, as he was vs. the Chiefs. As bad as the protection looked, line coach Mike Tice said it's important to keep it in perspective.
"We had a lot of guys play good," Tice said. "We had one guy that had an off day."
Right tackle Lance Louis was responsible for four of the Chiefs' seven sacks, but he had played well in the previous six games there after shifting from right guard. The Bears could have tossed Louis a lifesaver, but they let him sink.
"We could have helped him a little bit with some of the protection things we did," Tice said. "After that first (sack), after he got nailed on that (tackle-end stunt), he went into a little bit of a technique funk. He didn't really dig his way out of it, and it kind of snowballed a little bit. He'll bounce back. He'll be fine.
"I'm not down on him. I think he's down on himself a little bit right now. But I don't think he should be. He's got to bounce back and we've all got to bounce back."
The burden on the line only gets heavier now, with the loss of injured running back Matt Forte on top of Cutler's absence. Backup running backs Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell can help fill the void left by Forte's absence, but they can't do it without the offensive line.
"We have to do our jobs first and foremost," Garza said. "When our two most explosive offensive guys go down, we have to do our jobs and get the running game going and help protect Caleb. We have to give him the time to set his feet and make those throws. It's up to us to do our job regardless of who's on the field."
It certainly won't get any easier for Louis. He has to contend with AFC sack leader Von Miller this week. Fortunately for the Bears, Miller's effectiveness could be diminished in his first game back after missing one game following thumb surgery.
If the Broncos' rookie is anywhere close to 100 percent, he will get extra attention from the Bears throughout the game. Louis will get help from tight ends Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth, and Barber and Bell will be kept in as extra protection or asked to chip at Miller on their way out into pass routes.
"He's a phenomenal player," Tice said of Miller. "We're going to know where he's at at all times. This guy is pretty (darn) good. He's special."
The line's mental approach has to be that last week is in the past.
"Everyone's hung up on the numbers all the time - seven sacks," Tice said. "But I'm not; you can't be. We just have to bounce back. We've got a game this week and we've got to move on."
Failure to do so could leave the Bears with a third straight defeat and a hole too deep to climb out of in the playoff race.
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