The Chicago Bears offensive line is like a trouble maker in class…they don’t exactly have a stellar reputation. But looking deeper into the issue, perhaps it’s the teacher that won’t give the student a fresh start. Don’t get me wrong, eight false start penalties against the Detroit Lions wasn’t helping this reputation, but the line actually played well the last few games.
Left tackle J’Marcus Webb is starting to play respectably. Once he masters the snap count, there’s something there. He’s very athletic and strong. Many Bears fans don’t realize that Webb was one of Texas’ top high school players and started his career at University of Texas before transferring to West Texas A & M. He’s also was a National Honor Society student. Offensive line coach Mike Tice worked out Webb and lost part of a tooth in the process because of Webb’s strength. You can’t coach his size and strength, but Tice is coaching him how to be an NFL offensive lineman. In his second year, it’s starting to stick.
Chris Williams was drafted to be the left tackle of the future. He’s ended up at left guard. He’s starting to show some athleticism at the position. He’s pulling well on running plays and offering some run support. Like Webb, Williams isn’t a chump in the classroom with his Vanderbilt degree in hand. Roberto Garza has made a solid transition to center. Interestingly enough, he was also a National Honor Society student. The right side of the offensive line just became a lot more interesting. Now that Frank Omiyale has been assigned to bench duty, the Bears have discovered that the combination of Chris Spencer at guard and Lance Louis at tackle are an athletic pair.
Since this group has been put together, the sack totals have gone way down. Quarterback Cutler took a beating the first three weeks of the season, but things are starting to settle-down. Against the Vikings that feature NFL sack leader Jared Allen, Cutler was only brought down once. He’s finally getting some time and making defenses pay. Matt Forte leads the league in total yards from scrimmage. I would like to think the offensive line has a little to do with it.
Next Monday night will present an interesting dilemma for the Chicago Bears coaching staff. First-round pick Gabe Carimi (academic All-American by the way) returns from injury. Frankly, Louis has been solid at right tackle and Spencer looks good at guard. What will the Bears do? It’s nice to have this whole unit playing well but Carimi will help anchor this line for a long time (or so the Bears hope). My guess is that Carimi will start and the Bears will work a three-an rotation with Louis moving back to guard and Carmi at tackle. Eventually, this will be the combination, but there’s no need to rush Carimi into action. If he’s not 100%, I’d give him an extra week or two.
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