It all starts up front.
That is what general manager Jerry Angelo has always said and that is the way the Bears went around constructing this offseason, even if the blockbuster trade to acquire Jay Cutler is the move that still dominates the spotlight. But Angelo didn't want to lose sight of the line on Tuesday afternoon when discussing the club's moves to this point.
"Obviously, the quarterback position speaks volumes,'' Angelo said. "I think we all sleep better at night. He saves lives. But going forward, we've got to do other things to help him. We feel our offensive line, and I want you all to understand this to, when you're building on offense or defense, you have to have a philosophy. Our philosophy was to build that offensive line. We want to protect the quarterback first and then we want to supply him with the needed weapons. So I felt like we were able to do that.
"Our pro department [Bobby DePaul] did an excellent job of identifying some players young and old and we feel real good about our offensive line and that was a concern coming out of the season. Now, we're building inside-out and we're going to look at some of the perimeter people. Yes, we feel real good about having our quarterback and running back in place."
The Bears signed left guard Frank Omiyale hours into the free agency period. Next, they effectively swapped John St. Clair for Kevin Shaffer as the veterans traded places. Shaffer comes over from the Cleveland Browns having started all but two games over the last five seasons. Then, Orlando Pace agreed to terms on a three-year contract within minutes of the Cutler trade being finalized. And to think at the scouting combine two months ago it was a slam dunk the Bears were going to be drafting an offensive tackle on Saturday with their first-round pick.
"We targeted the tackle position,'' Angelo said. "We're looking at a few tackles, if that tackle is there at the right round, because we still want to look at that position for a younger developing player, we'll take him. It'll change our roster a little bit, we'll have to carry nine offensive linemen vs. eight. The other thing when you look at our roster and you should be mindful of--we have four tackles on this roster presently. And all four of them have played on the left side.
"This is the best we've ever been at the tackle position. We're also looking at the tackle position, we shift our thinking our philosophy on how we look at linemen we're looking more for tackles who can play guard, rather than guards who can play center, that's a shift in our thinking this year. I feel like there will be some prospects. Again if he is a player of value we would pull the trigger on another offensive linemen.''