CHICAGO – No doubt the biggest concern the Chicago Bears still have is their offensive line. Giving up nine sacks to the Buffalo Bills this past Saturday night makes Bears fans wonder how exactly the offensive line was addressed in the offseason. A couple offseason additions were first round draft pick Gabe Carimi, and free agent Chris Spencer who signed a two-year $6 million contract to replace veteran center Olin Kruetz. Not the greatest offseason additions to address an issue (the offensive line) which gave up a league-worst 56 sacks last season. The only comfort I have in the unit is that it is being coached by veteran offensive line coach Mike Tice.
Tice is arguably one of the best offensive line coaches in the business today, so a few words of encouragement from him made Bears fans feel a little better. Earlier today, Tice expressed his opinion on the o-line stating, “I’m more encouraged than I was at this point last year when we were playing musical lines. We had a handful of guys that played good and I think those guys are evident.” Those guys were Roberto Garza and Gabe Carimi.
Garza saw his first action as the starting center for the Chicago Bears replacing the 13 year veteran Olin Kruetz. Garza portrayed his own veteran presence at the center position by calling out blitz reads and staying vocal on the line. Rookie draft pick Carimi also portrayed a strong presence by not allowing anyone near the quarterback.
Another positive outlook was how the offensive line allowed the Bears to rush for 164 yards on 35 carries. “We did run the ball pretty well,” Tice said. “You don’t just run for 164 yards with nobody blocking anybody. So that is an encouraging sign.”
Tice later mentioned, “And then we had some guys that didn’t play well. Again, not to call anyone out. I think everybody knows who those guys are. It was pretty evident. They’re young.” Tice was most likely referring to J’Marcus Webb and Lance Louis. On the final play of the opening possession, Webb was called for holding and Louis was beaten for a sack. Webb is a first year starter in his position, and for the second year, Louis is defending the starting role at the LG position.
It does seem encouraging, but there are still issues that need to be addressed. The first depth chart for the Bears has the following starters on the offensive line:
LT – J’Marcus Webb
LG – Chris Williams
C – Roberto Garza
RG – Lance Louis
RT – Gabe Carimi
A lack of veteran presence on the offensive line concerns Bears fans the most. The starting line has a total of 20 years of experience with Garza having 11 of those years. Chris Spencer and Frank Omiyale have fourteen years of experience combined, but they are currently not on the first team.
Tice is doing the best he can with what he can. It is hard to mold an offensive line when the line is constantly being changed and shifted around. Tice’s words of encouragement are just only that, encouraging, and certain issues still need to be improved.
So I leave it to you, what do you think would be the best combination of an offensive line for the Bears if you look at this depth chart.
About the Author
Written by Kamil Kolodziejski
Born and raised a Chicago Fan! I am a recent graduate from DePaul University with a sports management degree. My lifelong goal is to become a part of the Sports Industry and hopefully one day work for one of my favorite teams in the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, or the Fire.