Chris Williams had about as bad as a game as humanly possible for an offensive tackle in the game against the Raiders. He struggled in pass protection allowing four sacks and at least two other pressures by my count. Williams struggled mightily in the game, but closer look at the tape reveals to a keen football eye, precisely what Williams struggled with and why.
Williams' struggles were directly tied in with his hands against the Raiders and the way he used them or in this case how he didn't use them. A simple break down, but easily correctable break down in fundamentals is what hurt Williams and the Bears the most.
Specifically an offensive linemen wants to keep his arms up high (aiming for the breast plate) and in tight close to his body to deliver a punch and a push to the oncoming defender. You want it to be a quick sharp and powerful motion, all the while keeping balanced and being careful not to over extend yourself as a blocker. A blocker wants to be able to win the battle of the hands, because it's important for him to control the defender and be able to lock out and push the defender away from his body.
Williams failed to do this, his initial pass blocking set was good, he kept hands up high and tight, but when Williams went to deliver his punch he dropped his hands and arms and almost in butterfly stroke motion tried to make his punch. Problem is by the time Williams finished his motion to deliver the punch the rusher was already into his body and in control of the blocker.
Reviewing the tape from last season in which Williams started at LT shows that Williams typically has solid hand placement and is able to get a good punch and push on the rusher. What it is that caused this small break down in technique will likely remain a mystery, but it's probably something pretty common amongst second year starting offensive tackles.
The good news is this game doesn't count in the standings nor does it reveal an overall weakness in Williams' game. He is still the best offensive linemen on this team, and still the linemen with the highest ceiling. Williams is still a player capable of achieving a high level of success in the NFL, the only thing that is stopping him is his willingness to learn and his own desire to succeed.
Bears fans should take comfort in knowing that a simple flaw that can be easily corrected will be pointed out by Mike Tice and dealt with in time for the Bears' offensive line to be consistent in week one against the Detroit Lions. Tice has already proven through the off-season and during training camp that he knows specifically what he's looking for and what he's working with in his starting offensive line. He is also taking the time during the pre-season to put his linemen in situations where they will fail or show a weakness and that failure won't count for anything. The failure or weakness will simply reveal itself and then Tice as a great offensive line coach can go back and correct what needs to be corrected.
This is what the pre-season is for, putting your players through the grinder and finding out what they can and can't do, what their limitations are. In the case of Williams however anyone can see if they watch closely enough that his limitations are very few and far between.