So far, this preseason has been a mixed bag for the Bears’ offensive line, with the battle of mediocrity at left tackle masking much deeper issues with this unit as a whole.
With this in mind, here is a list of four things to look out for from this unit against the Giants on Friday.
Battle for Left Tackle
This is a rather easy one to bring up: JaMarcus Webb was, frankly, woeful against the Denver Broncos after seemingly locking the position down in training camp by beating out former first round pick Chris Williams.
After his own poor performance, lack of drive, common sense and overdoing the Twitter posturing to #JWebbNation, Webb opened up the door for Williams to have a last shot at LT.
Both performed amicably against the Washington Redskins, opening running lanes and protecting relatively well in pass protection. I do feel that Williams had the slightly better game, but really it was a close call.
Consistency is the key, Mike Tice OC has already stated as much, and while I expect Webb to start at LT, he is going to get pulled pretty quickly and replaced by Williams if he can’t carry over the solid performance of last week, thus showing consistency on a week to week basis.
Neither of these two players are going to set the world alight, but the Bears only need them to compete at an average NFL starter level for Jay Cutler to set teams on fire this season.
The Bears are going to be playing out of the Shotgun a lot more this season, but a cause for concern so far has been the snapping ability of Roberto Garza.
On numerous occasions against both the Broncos and the Redskins, Garza snapped the ball very low and, on occasion, slightly wayward.
The transition of Garza from guard to center has been relatively successful, but this issue is seriously beginning to worry me as we head into the season, and as a result I would like to see an improvement against the Giants.
Gabe Carimi is, for all intents and purposes a rookie, and because of this, he will make rookie mistakes.
In my own mind, Carimi needs to stay healthy this season and show an ability to learn from his mistakes.
Thus far in preseason, I haven’t been overly impressed by Carimi. In fact, a lot of the time his play has been sloppier than that of Webb and Williams at the opposite end of the line. At times he looks slow and cumbersome and displays poor technique.
He will have his hands full on Friday against Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora of the Giants. He will have to bring a good game because Lord knows we don’t want to see a repeat of the last time the Bears and Giants played at the MetLife Stadium.
By the end of the 2011 NFL regular season, Chris Spencer was arguably the best performing Bears’ lineman, but so far this preseason his play has left a lot to be desired.
Spencer had a terrible game against the Broncos, allowing pressure on the QB, constantly being pushed back collapsing the pocket and his run blocking was equally as poor.
Against the Redskins, he showed flashes of his form from last season, but he still displayed some poor technique and he was wrongly accredited a false start penalty that should have gone against Garza, but even with that, I know this guy can play better.
As long as he can show that he is warming up to the task at guard and building up consistency week to week, he will be fine. I really will be looking for Spencer to have a much more assured and solid performance this week, though.