Chicago Sun-Times

Omiyale to guard project ends (for now) after one day

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Even by the Bears' standard for change they moved quick with this one.

The Frank Omiyale-at-left-guard experiment lasted a day, just about long enough for the ink to dry on the contract John St. Clair signed in Cleveland Tuesday afternoon.

Omiyale was moved to right tackle for the start of the Bears' second minicamp practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, a switch that came quicker than the quarterback and safety moves you usually see here.

``We're trying to lock guys in,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``He'll play right tackle right now. It's hard enough learning a new system playing one position, so we'll lock him in there for a while and go.''

Lock him in?

That's what Smith said before the minicamp started--that Omiyale would be locked in at left guard. That was when the Bears thought they would lure St. Clair back. With the unexpected retirement of John Tait and the failure of general manager Jerry Angelo to address the position in the draft for so many years before choosing Chris Williams in the first round last year, the Bears are without any depth. In fact in drills vs. air at the beginning of practice, they went without one tackle.

Smith didn't seem unnerved by the defection of St. Clair, who the Bears valued as a backup. Apparently, the Browns looked at him similarly as he received a signing bonus of $600,000 in his $9 million, three-year contract.

``Not surprised,'' Smith said. ``That's a part of it. Free agency is a part of it. Each year some of your players leave and most of the time it opens up an opportunity for someone else to step in and that's what we're looking to now.''

The open market offers no guarantees and the options could begin to thin out. Orlando Pace visited Baltimore today and Marvel Smith visited San Francisco. The Bears will have to be fixated on a tackle come the draft.

``We need to get the numbers up with the offensive line right now,'' Lovie Smith said. ``As you can see, we don't have a lot of guys up.''

How long Omiyale remains at right tackle remains to be seen. He could be the permanent solution. He could be keeping the seat warm until the next option arrives. Maybe that's a drawback to holding minicamp during the first possible week of the offseason program.

``Tackle is more what I'm used to,'' Omiyale said. ``What I've played in the past. But, like I said, wherever they want me to be, that's the position I'll learn and take care of it from there."

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18 Comments

Lovie- "We're trying to lock guys in...he'll play right tackle right now." Does he realize that he contradicted himself in the same breath? All the Bears do is fill in their needs with players that are already on their roster. What happens if one of these new additions to the line don't pan out? I know....Lovie will be fired and JA will find another pawn to do what he says. This is becoming very nauseating.

At least this makes sense. Hes got the most playing time at tackle anyway. There is at least some depth at guard with Buenning and Tyler Reed. Finally a common sense decision from the idiot twins. Time to draft a stud tackle and get some FA depth.. GO BEARS!!

WOW, after 28 years of watching Bears football maybe it's time to boycott. Who is this front office fooling? So we'll have to use all of our high round draft picks on Linemen. Surprise! We'll still have not a single playmaker to stretch the field. Who the hell is Orton suppose to throw the ball to? I guess we'll just except another terrible offensive football team.

I don't know why the Bears could not see the writing on the wall on this one. Right off the bat Frank stated that he felt more comftorable playing tackle. Why force a guy to do something he is less suited to. If you want to further the depth and get bigger inside than let's see what Buenning can establish. The Bears lack of movement in bringing in competition ath the tackle spot is nausiating. You can't just "HOPE" that St.Clair re-signs and do nothing in the meantime, their are other options out their. The Bears truly do need another weapon at receiver who is a blue chip guy, but because we have allowed the situation at tackle to get in such dispair we are now boxed in a corner to use our top pick their at tackle. Basically we force our own hand. If you really like Omiyale at right tackle, than leave him there. Then you can take a guy like Nicks in the first, and go back and get a tackle like Johnson or Loadholt in the second.

At least Cutler was not mentioned. Oops, I just did it, sorry.

strass, you can't be serious.

omiyale's "playing time" at tackle consists of 1 nfl start. dan buenning and tyler reed? tyler reed has never played a snap in the nfl. having people on the roster who happen to play a certain position doesn't constitute depth, there's also that minor detail of being good at said position.

brad, why is it that the words "failure" and "jerry angelo" fit so well together in the same sentence? this team is a train wreck.

bears down.

It's obvious that the Bears are already playing towards next years draft. Sam Bradford

SO one of three things has happened:


1) Either the Bears were so convinced that St. Clair was coming back to be the starting RT that they didn't plan for the possibility that he wouldn't be there, OR

2)They are deciding that rather than spend their money on a 1st round right tackle, they are choosing to spend their money on another position. That could be:

WR
DE
LB
DT
C
S


OR,

3) They are going to give up their #18 pick to get a certain player who feels comfortable with our LT and starting WR from playing with them before...

Ok I couldn't resist putting that last one in there, because I am a delusional optimist sometimes...But those that say there are no insignificant moves at this time of year would be able to say that they moved Omiyale and altered their plan for a reason. My guess is that their reason is they were putting all their eggs in St. Clair's basket, and he sat on them....

For me, this is a good thing, because the Bears make me insane trying to convert people to other positions. Everyone always assumes that tackles can move inside to guard, like it is an easier position. I don't think either one is more difficult than the other, but they require very different skill sets. As an example, Tackles have to be able to move laterally very quickly to control pass rushers, and all they really need to do to protect in the passing game is divert their man away from the point where the QB sets up, whether it be inside or outside. A guard on the same play needs to not only divert their man out of the passing lane to give the QB a clear lane to throw, but also have a strong anchor to prevent the pocket from collapsing, so the QB can step into the throw and deliver the ball. Quite frankly, we sucked at that in 2008. Omiyale is probably not a strong anchor-type player, so his transition to guard would have been slower than we would like, and perhaps not successful. Garza, Kreutz, and Beekman were not very good as an interior line trio in creating a pocket for Orton or Grossman to throw. Add in that Tait and St. Clair were veritable turnstiles on the edges, and you have our pedestrian, 3-step-drop and dumpoff passing game.

By putting Omiyale on the outside where he belongs, you not only strengthen our edges, but you open the middle to guys who actually know how to play guard. If we draft Britton or another RT, then you have a 4 year vet at tackle either holding the spot for the rookie on the right, or serving as insurance if Williams is not able to get the job done on the left side.

Biggs made the comment that the season doesn't start for 6 months, but we are setting things up as if camp opened tomorrow. It is either a pretty aggressive smokescreen, or Jerry is doing his usual poor job of masking that he is up to something....We'll see which one it is in about 38 days....

Well to clarify... he does have more time at the tackle position. lol.. all be it 1 start, but played in what.. 10 other games? Guys, this team has been turned upside down by the idiot twins. No depth on the line. I like Olin, but he has obviously lost a step and is not nearly as dominant. Beekman looks like a better fit at center. Buenning is huge and has a year starting experience with Tampa at guard, but Lovie puts him at center.. ;-( Another classic Lovie move. Garza also needs to be replaced. Looking back at last year, we got stuffed alot on critical short yardage plays. Atlanta/Minnesota goal line plays. And the last play at Carolina.. 4 and 1... got stuffed. This debacle with the O-Line will come back to haunt us. Forte will gain 3000 yards just trying to get 1200 with all the dancing he will have to do in the backfield. This team could not be handled more poorly.. Disaster is on the horizon. No WR's... no line.. an average QB..but a stud RB. Sounds like the late 70's and Walter Payton. Maybe they are laying the ground work to get into the top 5 of the 2010 draft to grab Tebow or Colt McCoy!?!?

Jerry Angelos plan worked out just as he planned it with his scouts.
On the first day of free agency Angelo signed his new starting Tackle Omiyale, and Bear fans for the last three weeks did not realize it because he is not a famous name. But think back a few years ago when Angelo signed Garza, that has been successful. And look Angelo said it immediately that Omiyale was behind Jordan Gross pretty hard fixture to move. So just maybe Angelo did know what he was doing. Many football analysts from major magazines have said some positive things about Omiyale. And just maybe this will give Angelo the opportunity to draft that superstar wideout or maybe a great safety in the first round and a good backup tackle in the 2nd.

Who didnt see this coming?I knew thats where they wanted to play him all along.I dont think they wanted to upset the whiney fans so the made St.Clair an offer that they knew he wasnt going to accept.Because if they didnt make him a offer you whiney fans would say "now who's going to play the tackle,we need vets,thanks Jerry real smart move", but when JA took us to the Super Bowl there was no talk.He was a genius.

If they leave Omiyale at RT it will be a disaster, and I don't think they will do it. It also explains why there looking at so much interior line help, they still need to replace Beekman either way. But there also looking at Britton and Loadholt, which means Omiyale would move back cause your not going to take a first or second round pick to be a backup. Britton is the only real first round guy they will have looked at. Everyone else is second round or later. I think Angelo is trying to get to clever again. In stead of fixing the problems he wants to show he is smarter than the problem. There also lining up Bennett as a starter at WR but I don't excpect that to last.

Anonymous your not using your head, Omiyale was on the Panthers when they had a huge hole at RT. So why didn't they put him there? They drafted Otah instead, if he is so good and can play RT why hasn't he? How come they drafted Otah with him already on the team? When Otah got hurt they moved Gross to RT to play the position for a game. Usually the LT is considered the more important line position. Why would you move your All Pro to RT for a game instead of just plugging in Omiyale? He was the backup for both positions after all. Why would the Panthers who know Oline studs when they see them, Draft Otah, Start Otah, and move Gross to protect the right side if Omiyale could do it? The answer is he can't do it. As for a FS in the first round there are no elite FS in this draft, as for a reciever they can get the guy they want in round 2 were most of the WR's will be. Crab won't drop that far.

Nope Angelo is saving his 1st pick for something and no it's not Cutler, although I really wish it was. What he is trying to do is cover up how weak a position the Bears are at in this draft. He is trying to stop teams from trading ahead of him if they think the Bears have targeted a pick another team wants, Angelo has gotten nailed a couple of times with this. It also gives him more leverage in a trade down situation. The Bears are desperate and he is trying to cover that up.

Where fine at RT we have Omiyale
Where fine at FS we Bullocks he will be much better in our system.
Where fine at WR Bennett will make huge strides
Where fine at DLine we brought in Rod
Where fine at QB because Kyle Orton will take huge strides

Every weakness the Bears have he says there fine at. He doesn't believe this and he slipped up earlier this offseason when he said the QB position was not settled. To make matters worse the Bears have actually gotten worse in the off season not better. Bullocks is not an upgrade over Brown, and loosing Tait and St. Clair even if it is just depth still hurts. There shy two WR from last year not saying there good but again you have no depth and not a single proven starter, same at OT, not a single proven starter, same as QB, and FS. You also have a defense that is getting older, slower and playing worse every year. In 2007 they gave up 348 points, in 08 they gave up 350, thats not a big move at all until you consider the amount of injuries they had in 07 compared to 08. They actually got worse even though they were healthier. The offense did not improve that much in fact all of the improvment can be given to Forte who accounted for 12 TD as compared to the year before with Benson and Peterson who scored 7 TD's. Orton managed 1 more TD than the trio of starters from last year did 18 which is pretty bad for a QB in a pass first offense and yes they pass more than they run so they are a passing offense, in fact he was tied with Tyler Thigpen for TD's and Int's. His yardage per attempt though is what is really brutal, the only guys he did better than were all part time starters, the same can be said for comp percentage, his passing yards are also really bad considering he threw the ball 465 times.

I have yet to see the Bears look at a true first round talent as they have not seen Britton yet. Something strange is going on with that first pick. I think the Bears already have an idea of who they want to use that pick on. Could it be a defensive end or a QB???? I guess will see.

Creighton,
Jerry is smarter than all of us, right? I agree that something is up with the 18 pick. Whether it is Peppers, Cutler, or a draft pick other than Britton, something is happening here. I don't see it being a trade for a player, so let's look at who might be available at the 18 pick, or available with a trade back (I think Jerry is trying to line up a trade partner to move back in round 1, or to the top of round 2):
If we stay at 18:
Britton--looks like a can't go wrong, so we could just be smokescreening to keep someone from leapfrogging us to the Jets pick at 17 to take him
Nicks--looks like a Jerry pick. Not overly flashy, but solid in all aspects of the game
Michael Johnson--Could be a total freak, but questions about consistency are there
Kenny Britt--if his ego stays under control, could be the best WR out of this class
Lauranitis--could be a very good SLB
Clay Matthews--capable of being a SLB, and a situational pass rusher


If we move back to end of 1st/early 2nd
Loadholt--is a little slow in his footwork, but is like a tidal wave in the running game with his size--would be a trade back scenario
Mack--center of the future
Unger--could start at guard this year, and move to center next year
Ziggy Hood--could be a great DT for us
Beatty--another finesse left tackle that could be the swing
Eric Wood--another guy that could play all 3 interior positions on the line, and be the center of the future
Delmas--Josh Bullocks and Craig Steltz are our plan? I don't think so.
Jarron Gilbert
Ron Brace
Fili Moala

Granted, this is not an all-inclusive list, and some of these guys will still be there when we draft in the second at 49.

My theory is that JA is thinking that rather than get one of his targets, like a Britton, and then hoping for the best after that, he will trade back, try and get an extra second or third, and then bank on the comp pick in the third, so he can fill 4 spots before the end of the third round. We can get a WR, S, OT, and DE/DT before the fourth round even starts (in no particular order). Guards will be available in the 4th and 5th round that can help us. The big question I have is whether Loadholt is graded close enough to Britton to pass on one and hope the other is still there. I am not sure I think so, but I haven't watched enough of Britton to say for sure. There are a couple of scenarios I could see here:

Philly might want Britton and Oher or Beatty to shore up their tackles for the next 5-7 years (lost Tra Thomas already, and Runyan is getting really old really fast), so maybe they would want to trade up from 28 to 18 (taking their tackles at 18 and 21), which would take their 53 pick, and the Bears would need to give up 146 or 177 in the deal. That would give us 28,49, and 53 in the first two rounds, and 84 and the comp pick in the 3rd.

The other is Carolina. If they trade Peppers to New England for the 34 pick, will have a huge hole on that defense. They might want Michael Johnson, and the Bears are kind of the spot where he could start going, in the 18-25 range based on physical skills alone. He could go 19 to Tampa, or he could drop to 45...If they send the 34, it would also take the 59, and the 155 pick. We would then be out of the first round, but have 3 second rounders, and two thirds (counting on the comp pick).

Everybody else is fair game, but I see them as the primary guys to go after a spot between 15-20 in the draft.

A few of us doubted Omiyale would play guard anyway contrary to what the NON Coach Jerry stated, and as far as Omiyale being a good RT, That did not stop us from getting Bullocks did it? I feel Omiyale is our RT, or at least untill we draft a RT - and I am thinking along with Joe that 18 is a trade down for Loadholt. Garza? durn he did squat last year, can they please see the need to upgrade RG as well? If we get Olin a younger RG on his side he might last 1 more year, but I agree with Strass that our interioir Oline really got stuffed in some critical situations last year and it was not Beekman - it was Garza/Olin getting old. Not to knock themas they were great players in their day, but Garza needs to sit and that would help both Olin and our interior line work..
I had expected Buenning to work into that RG spot - time will tell.
Does anyone feel that Buenning is healed and back to his good playing days?>

We have to officially be the laughing stock of the league. We are so cheap (McCaskeys) and passive (Angelo & Lovie) that we are actually holding practices with Patrick Mannely lining up at tackle! (He will probably hurt himself and then we will need a new longsnapper too).

What a joke. I am done with this organization as a longtime season ticket holder. Over $30 million under the cap and we can't resign St. Clair for a $600,000 signing bonus (not that he was even very good but he is a warm body).

Angelo and Lovie...draft another hurt tackle, fixate on QB but yet don't acquire one, hold practices like an Arena footbal team, name a WR a starter who hasn't yet caught a pass, sign another safety with a U-Tube video, and hire another defensive coach...

Pump the breaks Joe, I never said Angelo was smarter than anyone, but I think your right I think he is looking to trade and he is also looking to protect his position in the draft. I don't think the Jets are going to trade down, but watch Houston, they did it last year and may do it again.

Randy, I don't buy the Omiyale conspiracy theory. First it doesn't even make sesne to do it. Why lie about a guy for no reason. They have no problem saying Bullocks is going to compete fro the FS job, so I am pretty sure they have no problem saying Omiyale would compete for the RT job. They still have not even said that, they said Omiyale is there for now. The Bears have never done that with another player so why start now, for no reason?

No they signed him to play LG , and then lost St. Clair and Tait, this forced him to be slid over for practice, but thats about it. This also tells me how bad Balogh is. At the same time it makes them look less desperate for a tackle, which is something they want to do to protect there draft position.

Creighton, Jeff,

You guys are crazy if you think Kyle Orton is going to make huge strides - he's a game manager - that's it. As a fan you should not be satisified with one of the NFL's most storied franchises standing pat with the next Trent Dilfer playing quarterback.

Devin Hester stretches the field quite well, and Kyle misses him by 20-yards every time.

We've seen the best of Kyle Orton. I watched all the games. Some of 'em twice. He can't hit 15+ yard pass-plays. His completion percentage at that range is a freaking horror show. Even with a good running back.

Can he help the Bears win a Superbowl? Maybe. But he's not a big-play quarterback and that hurts. I don't care how many times you say he's gonna get more accurate - he's not. He's started a BUNCH of games and the only thing that's significantly improved is his 2:00 drill - which is good, but not enough.

Wake up.

Sorry Creighton...my sarcasm doesn't come across as well in the written word as it does in the spoken one. I agree that Jerry is up to something, but every time he is up to something, we all see it coming a mile away, even despite his "brilliant" efforts of smokescreening.

I think the whole thing is centered around a tackle in round 1. They are getting nervous that the one guy they will decide they want at that spot will be gone. Philly basically needs two OTs early, and can use the 28 pick and a second or third to move up to 17 and take Britton. Then they can take Beatty or Oher at 21. So Jerry moves Omiyale to RT, so it looks like we are leaning towards a WR or other spot, considering the tackle position solved. He wants to be able to trade back and still get his man, which probably means he has already decided on Loadholt, so he is trying to generate momentum for that spot by looking like he doesn't need to draft someone at 18, creating the opportunity for other teams to call "Crazy Jerry's Slightly Irregular and Damaged" shop on draft day.

I would really be interested in seeing how other GMs see him. Do they mock him as much as we do? He has made some great later round draft picks, but has not been very good with early picks. That would be an interesting discussion to have with a room full of GMs. Who are the really smart ones in their opinion? Who gets the best trade deals, or makes the smartest draft picks, and who are the d*****bags who just can't get it right?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 18, 2009 4:45 PM.

Bears to take a closer look at another wide receiver was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, March 18: Exploring the interior of the O-line is the next entry in this blog.

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