Chicago Sun-Times

Exploring the depth chart on the offensive line

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It's simple to predict what the Bears' depth chart at quarterback is going to look like.

1. Jay Cutler
2. Caleb Hanie
3. Brett Basanez

or

1. Jay Cutler
2. Brett Basanez
3. Caleb Hanie

Sorting through the offensive line after the addition of Orlando Pace, things are not as clearly defined. Let's give it a try though:

LT--Orlando Pace
LG--Frank Omiyale
C--Olin Kreutz
RG--Roberto Garza
RT--Chris Williams

Left tackle: You can lock Pace in at left tackle right now. That is what the Bears signed him to be and his addition came literally within minutes of the addition of Cutler. Pace allowed only two sacks in 14 games last season and remains a top-flight pass protector who is reportedly in great condition at 33 and considering his experience. If the Bears had a luxury in John St. Clair when he was the swing tackle, they have a bigger luxury now in Kevin Shaffer. He's younger than St. Clair and has more starting experience. Shaffer started at left tackle in an NFC Championship Game for the Atlanta Falcons. He's a high-priced swing tackle at $8 million over three years, but that's not a bad thing.

Left guard: This is where Omiyale was ticketed to play the free agency opened and the Bears pounced on him. Yes, he has more experience as a tackle. Yes, he was moved to right tackle on the second day of minicamp but that was a knee-jerk reaction, one we suspect might have been made by Lovie Smith to make a point the Bears needed some help after losing St. Clair to Cleveland. Omiyale is going to earn more than $6 million this season and that right there tells you incumbent Josh Beekman will likely give way.

Center: Kreutz is the mainstay on a line that will have three new starters. He runs the show. Beekman could move behind him and become the heir apparent.

Right guard: Garza has been a steady performer starting the past three seasons and should remain in that role with Dan Buenning providing backup at both guard spots. Buenning has starting experience and could push Garza. With fewer draft picks, selecting a guard probably moves down the priority list now. They should feel pretty good about the group they have.

Right tackle:
Williams will not be handed the job over Shaffer, but the first-round pick from last season will be given every opportunity and then some to win it.

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5 Comments

Now I see the sense of moving Williams to RT. If you have a Pro Bowl QB who can throw deep well you have a greater need for good pass blocking than run blocking from the RT position.

Lets hope this fairly new line and our new QB can coexist as a unit and allow few sacks from Allen and open more holes through the Willims Roid Wall. I just hope that everyones fear of Cutler imaturity doesn't kick in and that his heart is where the game is. That to me was one of Orton's main features were. I also pray that we manage to sign one of the veterans still availible such as Holt or Harrison to help mold Hester and Bennett, because clearly Davis is a joke and for the ball to get down the field more successfully our receivers need to be able to coexist and work as a well oiled machine with the QB.

Go Bears!

Our O-Line is bigger, more experienced, stronger, and younger than anytime in JA/Lovie's tenure. If they can gel as a cohesive unit, we can pass all Offensive milestones and the O of 2006 will be but a distant memory.

I wouldn't be surprised if we draft but 1 OG/OT in this draft now. We have a lot of money wrapped up there, but its worth it.

Never been this optimistic before. JA blew our furkin' minds!!!! Now SIGN TORRY HOLT TOO!

People are also missing the all important fact that Pace blocked for an Air Coryell system, Turner is an Air Coryell guy and now has a QB who actually fits the system. Pace fits the line and if Williams wants to be a good OT, there is nobody better to learn from. I also like the fact that he will have to beat out Shaffer, make him earn it.

I agree we need Holt in 2007 he almost 1200 yards and 7 td's, only problem is he is a Flanker and so is hester. I say get Holt and let Hester get bumped into the slot spot, and let him learn from Holt for a year or so.

You're right, Creighton, about Cutler also being a great fit for our system. I havent had a chance to read all of the blogs, so I hope I'm not repeating things that have been said elsewhere.

Cutler should really fit our scheme like a glove. With Rex and Kyle we had pocket guys, but now Ron Turner can let loose with the playbook full of Play Action Rollouts that he's been using for a booster seat for the last three years.

I think the only issue with Cutler is this- (and I could have my answer at today's press conference) "Will he actually win over this locker room?" I think most people were surprised last year that Orton was voted a team captain. If Cutler will humble himself just a tiny bit and/or do what he has to to EARN the respect of his teammates, I belive the sky is the limit for the next 10 years.

One question for Brad: Do you think there is a possibility that we'll see Forte and Jones in the backfield at the same time this year? Considering the matchup problems of Hester vs. DB's and Olsen vs. LB's, I would love to see what two potential home run hitters standing behind Jay Cutler could do this season.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2009 10:32 PM.

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