Chart Toppers: Kyle Long & Jordan Mills

We chart all 31 snaps Chicago Bears rookie offensive linemen Jordan Mills and Kyle Long played in Thursday's preseason contest against the San Diego Chargers.

In Thursday's preseason contest against the San Diego Chargers, the coaching staff of the Chicago Bears inserted two rookie offensive linemen into the starting lineup. First rounder Kyle Long lined up at right guard and fifth rounder Jordan Mills was placed at right tackle.

The duo played well in the preseason opener but that was against second- and third-team competition. Both have been inconsistent in practice, particularly Mills, who was eaten alive by Corey Wootton on numerous occasions in the week leading up to the game. Thursday was our first chance to see what these youngsters can do against an opponent's first-team defense.

In order to evaluate their performance, let's chart every single snap from the Chargers contest. We'll grade both players with a positive (+), negative (-) or neutral (=) score on each play. In that way, we can form an educated opinion as to the future success of Long and Mills.

SNAP 1
Play: Stretch run left
Synopsis: On the backside, Mills dives and rolls under the legs of the defensive end, hindering his pursuit. Long extends to the second level, finds a linebacker and drives him eight yards backward.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 2
Play: Pass
Synopsis: Long stands his man up at the line of scrimmage and then rides him past the pocket. Mills loses the leverage battle and gets bull-rushed into Jay Cutler's face. This forces Cutler to tuck the ball down before he is strip-sacked from the blindside.
Grade: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 3
Play: Pass
Synopsis: Mills has no one to block. Long take the defender and rides him inside, using the opposing player's momentum to keep him out of Cutler's face. There is no pressure, yet Cutler tucks the ball down and takes a sack.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 4
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Long and Roberto Garza double-team the nose tackle and drive him out of the play. Mills turns his body and seals the defensive end to the outside. The defender tries to work around Mills but the youngster does a great job mirroring, keeping a low base and moving his feet.
Grade: Long +, Mills +

SNAP 5
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Matt Forte runs right behind Long and Mills. Long jumps to the second level immediately but he can't find anyone to block. Mills gives up penetration initially but he's able to ride the defender inside and out of the play.
Grade: Long =, Mills +

SNAP 6
Play: Pass
Synopsis: Long stands up, sinks his hips and extends his arms into the defensive tackle. The defender tries to move but he can't go anywhere. Mills kick-steps outside but gets shoved backward beyond the pocket. The defensive end then cuts inside and has a clear path to the quarterback. Luckily for Mills, the play call is a quick slant, so Cutler gets the ball off before he's sacked.
Grade: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 7
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Long double-teams the nose tackle initially and the peels off for a linebacker and locks him up. Mills tries to seal the end outside but he loses leverage and gets spun around. His man ends up making the tackle.
Grades: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 8
Play: WR Screen
Synopsis: On the backside, Long and Mills both get a hand on their defenders but the play is too far away for them to make a difference.
Grade: Long =, Mills =

SNAP 9
Play: Stretch run left (Forte 58-yard run)
Synopsis: On the backside, Mills gets a hand on his defender, but he's no threat to the play. Long gets to the second level, finds the linebackers and locks on.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 10
Play: Pass (TD to Marshall)
Synopsis: Long and Mills both stonewall their defenders and Cutler gets off the quick back-shoulder TD pass to Brandon Marshall.
Grade: Long =, Mills +

SNAP 11
Play: Pass (Cutler INT)
Synopsis: Long stands up his defender and gets help from Garza. Long then shuffles his feet to stay in front of the DT. On the outside, Mills gets beat initially by a speed rush. The defensive end then dips his shoulder and tries to drive into the pocket. Mills does a decent job riding the defender past Cutler, yet the pressure leads to an interception.
Grade: Long =, Mills –

SNAP 12
Play: Pass
Synopsis: From shotgun, Cutler fakes a handoff and rolls out right. Long clears behind the play to pick up any backside pressure, but there is none. On the play-side, Mills gets edge help from the tight end, which gives Cutler room to run and throw.
Grade: Long =, Mills =

SNAP 13
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Chargers jump offside. As the defender moves back across the line of scrimmage, the ball is snapped, giving Mills no one to block initially. Long finds a linebacker at the second level and locks him up.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 14
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Long doubles on the nose tackle, sealing him to the inside. Mills gets good push at the snap but he doesn't sustain the block. When Forte cuts back, Mills loses his defender, who makes the tackle for no gain.
Grade: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 15
Play: Middle run (1st and goal)
Synopsis: Mills seals the defensive end to the outside, using good body placement and balance. Long takes his man and drives him all the way into the end zone. It was a great display of power and balance.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 16
Play: Stretch run right (Forte TD)
Synopsis: Mills moves straight ahead at the snap, clipping the down lineman, which gives Garza enough time to stretch and pick him up. Mills then moves up to the second level and finds the linebacker, driving him into the end zone. Long swings behind Mills and leads the play. Long finds the outside linebacker and kicks him out. Forte runs right between his rookies for a touchdown.
Grade: Long +, Mills +

SNAP 17
Play: Off-tackle run
Synopsis: Michael Bush bounces the play outside right. Long locks up his man at the line of scrimmage. Mills clears to the second level and drives the linebacker six yards deep.
Grade: Long =, Mills +

SNAP 18
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Mills missed his man and nearly allows a negative-yardage play. Long pulls and leads the hole. He finds a linebacker and creates enough space for Bush to get the first down.
Grade: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 19
Play: Pass
Synopsis: Long stands up and locks on, not allowing penetration. Mills' defender tries an inside stunt. Mills pushes him into Long, who is able to hold up both pass rushers.
Grade: Long +, Mills =

SNAP 20
Play: Stretch run right
Synopsis: Mills and Long double team the DE at the point of attack. Mills then takes control and puts the defender on his back. Long then peels off and finds a linebacker to block.
Grade: Long +, Mills +

SNAP 21
Play: Pass
Synopsis: The Chargers bring three linebackers on the blitz: two up the middle and one off the right edge. Mills locks up the DE and Bush pick up the OLB. A player blitzes to either side of Long but he doesn't block either. Blitz pickup has been an issue for these two during camp as well.
Grade: Long -, Mills +

SNAP 22
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Long pulls left to kick out but he passes right by the defender, who slams into Steve Maneri, who was the lead blocker. At the same time, Mills gets driven backward into Maneri by a bull rush. Bush runs right into the pile of bodies for a loss.
Grade: Long -, Mills –

SNAP 23
Play: Pass
Synopsis: Long and Mills stand up their defenders and keep the pocket clean. Textbook pass blocking.
Grade: Long +, Mills +

SNAP 24
Play: Off-tackle left run
Synopsis: Long and Mills clear to the second level immediately. They both pick up a defender and begin moving left, creating cut-back lanes. Bush does cut back but Long loses his block and his linebacker makes the tackle.
Grade: Long -, Mills =

SNAP 25
Play: Stretch run left
Synopsis: Mills tries to reach block the defensive tackle but the defender stiff arms him and drives Mills on his face. Long clears to the second level, explodes into the linebacker and takes him 15 yards deep, all the way into the end zone.
Grade: Long +, Mills –

SNAP 26
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Mills turns and seals the defensive end outside, keeping his feet moving the whole time. Long pulls to kick out on the defensive end. The defender jumps the gap but Long just crushes him, planting a forearm in his chest that puts the DE on his back. It was one heck of a display of power.
Grade: Long +, Mills +

SNAP 27
Play: Pass (Rollout right, 3rd and goal)
Synopsis: Josh McCown rolls right and the two rookies do a decent job of creating a moving wall but McCown has no one to throw to and nearly gets sacked.
Grade: Long =, Mills =

SNAP 28
Play: Pass
Synopsis: The Chargers bring two blitzers off the right edge. Yet both Long and Mills crash down on the defensive line. This puts pressure on McCown, who is barely able to get the pass off.
Grade: Long =, Mills –

SNAP 29
Play: Stretch run right
Synopsis: Long and Mills double-team the DE at the point of attack. Long then peels off but misses the linebacker, who makes the tackle.
Grade: Long -, Mills =

SNAP 30
Play: Middle run
Synopsis: Mills and Long double-team initially. Long then peels off and hits the linebacker, but he doesn't sustain the block and the defender makes the tackle.
Grade: Long -, Mills +

PLAY 31
Play: Kneel down

Grades

KYLE LONG

Grades
Overall: +12
Run: +8
Pass: +4

Long put forth a nearly perfect effort with the first-team offense. He received either a positive or neutral grade for each of his first 20 snaps. It wasn't until the Chargers second team hit the field that Long started missing blocks.

In pass protection, he showed phenomenal balance and very good strength. He received a negative pass-block grade on just one of his 12 snaps in protection. And he was just as good as a run blocker, earning positive grades in 12 of 19 run snaps. At the second level, he consistently showed the awareness to find linebackers, and the agility and quickness to lock them up and drive them out of the play.

JORDAN MILLS

Grades
Overall: Even
Run: +2
Pass: -1

Mills didn't fare as well against San Diego's starting defense. He struggled early on, particularly in pass protection, and seemed a little overwhelmed during his first NFL start. He was too easily caught off balance and allowed three pressures during Cutler's five pass attempts.

Yet even when he did get beat initially, Mills showed good recovery quickness. He never appeared as if his feet were in quicksand, which is a common trait of J'Marcus Webb.

In the run game, Mills showed solid power and looked very good in the zone system. His active feet and agility helped him stay on track and pick up players as he moved.

Final Analysis

Consistency is an issue with both of Chicago's rookie offensive linemen. On only five of 31 snaps did Long and Mills both receive a positive grade. Yet each showed a lot of potential, especially Long. It's far too early to anoint him but Long showed on Thursday why GM Phil Emery made him a first-round selection, despite just five games experience at the Division I level.

Mills still has room to grow but he was much more impressive in this contest than I had predicted. San Diego isn't the toughest opponent and he did make a number of mistakes, particularly in protection, so the jury is still out. Yet Mills showed improvement from practice, which is what you want to see out of a fifth-round rookie. He needs to build on Thursday's outing but Mills definitely showed promise.


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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