October 20, 2021

Bears center Sam Mustipher knows offensive line must get much better

LAKE FOREST – Bears guard Sam Mustipher likened watching the game video of their 26-6 embarrassment Sunday against the Cleveland Browns to a trip to the dentist.

“They just give you honest feedback,” Mustipher said. “We had a lot of cavities on Sunday. That’s something you’ve got to improve on, got to fix. We’ve got to floss every day.”

The Browns sacked rookie quarterback Justin Fields nine times in his NFL starting debut and the Bears finished with 47 total yards, their worst output in 40 years.

The offensive line, along with head coach Matt Nagy, have borne the brunt of the criticism for the debacle. Mustipher said the linemen were as upset as anyone about what transpired.

“It’s back to the details, back to the execution,” Mustipher said. “What can we do moving forward? It’s not about woe is me. We could be like that and allow the Browns to beat us twice. Or we can get back to what we need to do.

“How can we improve? What are the solutions we need to make and the corrections. I feel like we did a good job of that yesterday and today. I’m not happy with my own performance. We’re grown men. We’re professionals. We know what we put on the field Sunday was unacceptable on multiple fronts.”

The Bears (1-2) have a colossal offensive mess to try to clean up by noon Sunday when Detroit (0-3) comes to Soldier Field for an NFC North Division game.

Offensive line coach Juan Castillo said the main objective will be for his players to be more consistent with their fundamentals.

“I’ve been in this league (as a player and coach) for a long time, you know, and we’ve had bad days and I know that the best remedy for that is to come back and work hard,” Castillo said. “We need to get better and we will get better. That’s the kind of guys we have.”

The line – right tackle Germain Ifedi, right guard James Daniels, Mustipher (center), left guard Cody Whitehair and left tackle Jason Peters – often was in disarray.

Defensive ends Myles Garrett (4 1/2 sacks) and Jadeveon Clowney (two sacks) led a Browns’ pass rush and made it a miserable day for the Bears offense.

Fields had little time to throw, nowhere to run and rarely found an open receiver in time to get rid of the ball. The coaches and Fields’ teammates were impressed with his reaction to such a difficult situation.

“He kept his poise,” Whitehair said. “There’s two different ways he could have gone about it. He came in the huddle very poised and we kept coming into the huddle trying to get it going.

“We’ll take this to heart. We know we didn’t play well. It’s all about how you bounce back. You can’t let this trickle over into multiple games.”

Mustipher said all the linemen need to look at themselves first.

“I feel like it’s on each of us,” Mustipher said. “We’re all professionals. I look at myself as a guy who comes in here and is consistent on a daily basis. When I came in today, it was ‘How can I improve so we can win this game Sunday? How can we beat the Lions?’ For everybody in our room, I believe they all take that same mentality.

“I didn’t play perfect. Nobody on that offensive line played perfect. And going into the rest of the season, I’m sure we’re not going to see any offense play perfect. It’s just about being honest with ourselves.”

Castillo was asked what encouraged him about the line being able to improve.

“The first thing is on the way home those guys were, ‘Coach, we’re going to take care of it. We’re gonna work our (butts) off. We’re gonna get better. It won’t happen again,’ " Castillo said. “I was watching some of the videos and so some of the clips I showed some of the guys, and those were the things they were saying to me, so to me, that is encouraging.

“Sometimes something like this has to happen so it doesn’t happen the rest of the year. Not that you like that, but sometimes we understand when we play really elite players, athletes that your technique has to be on point.”

Joe Stevenson

Joe Stevenson

I have worked at the Northwest Herald since January of 1989, covering everything from high school to professional sports. I mainly cover high school sports now.