Chicago Sun-Times

Bears have other options at guard

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He is a small, athletic guard --- not a mauler --- who excels in pass protection, which could make him a good fit for Mike Martz's offense.

Justin Smiley is also very much available. The Dolphins tried and failed to trade their starting left guard during the draft and are now considering releasing the 6-foot-3, 310 pounder.

It just goes to show, despite the Cardinals signing nine-time Pro Bowler Alan Faneca on Tuesday, there are other guards available who could be signed before training camp. Smiley, 28, is just one example.

Ex-Texans guard Chester Pitts, an unrestricted free agent, is another.

Then there's Deuce Lutui. Remember him? He was the player Tommie Harris punched four plays into a blowout loss to the Cardinals last season. Harris was ejected, of course. Now the 6-3, 340-pounder may be falling out of favor in Arizona, where he could be replaced by Reggie Wells.

Lutui is a restricted free agent who hasn't signed his qualifying tender. According to an Arizona Republic report, coaches and management aren't happy with Lutui's decision to skip the club's offseason workout program.

If nothing else, signing Lutui would give Harris a chance at a rematch in training camp.

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I like Justin Smiley - well rated in both pass blocking and run blocking, and would fit Martz's scheme pretty well. Pitts isn't bad, but not much of an upgrade in run blocking. I don't love Lutui - Beekman is better.

"If nothing else, signing Lutui would give Harris a chance at a rematch in training camp."

...hahahaha... oh my God, that is hilarious! Hahaha. You sportswriters are too funny. Quit your day job and go for a career as a stand-up comedian.

All I've got to say is, the guy's first name is Deuce...don't sign him.

Smiley, however, has been a very good, productive guard throughout his career. I don't think the Bears could go wrong signing him, and seeing as Faneca just signed for 1 yr, $2.5 mil, and is more highly thought of, the Bears might be able to get Smiley for even cheaper than that. I call that a win-win - we get a younger guy than Faneca, and for cheaper.

Honestly, I don't see a problem with Beekman, but bringing in some talent like Smiley can also help to push Beekman or Garza (who I think is about as solid as our line gets) to play better. Either way, the competition wouldn't hurt, and would sure as hell be better than playing Frank Omiyale at G...

Rumor is the Bears are after Shawn Andrews and Nick Lecky the former Saint backup Center.

When sane and healthy Andrews is a 27 year old pro bowl guard who is good at both run and pass blocking.

Smiley is a liability and thats why he is being cut. Granted he is still better than what the Bears have. He can pass block pretty well but is inconsistant and is a poor run blocker.

Pitts is an excellent pass blocker who couldn't open up a hole a JV HS team.

Lutui is slob but he can run block, he can't pass block be he can run block.

Honestly, we should have signed Smiley when he hit the free agent market 2 years ago from SF. The Dolphins signed him right out of the gate, and he has dealt with nagging injuries since, which is why they put him on the block. If he is healthy, he was one of the top 10 LGs in the NFL when he hit free agency, so he surely would be better than Louis or Asiata, which appears to be plan b right now. Beekman is adequate at LG, but I would rather see him get all the offseason reps at center while Kreutz is rehabbing, and see if Olin will help him with reading defenses, and calling formations. If his tape looks good (didn't see any Fins games this past season), I would even be willing to trade one of our oversized DEs for him, preferably Gilbert, who is probably best suited to a 5 technique anyway, and would help clear the logjam we have at DE/DT.

Lutui just got replaced by a 34 year old who had lost at least one step, if not two. That isn't exactly a superstar in the making. He is known for being tough, nasty, and a touch dirty. We may need some of that element on this team, but the Cards are trying to get back to running the football, and Lutui, who has small planet size, doesn't fit what they are trying to do. I say pass on him. Besides, if his biggest accomplishment in the NFL is getting Tommie Harris to lose his temper and throw a punch, that really is not saying much. So much for the USC mystique in the NFL. Outside of the linebackers, have any of their players lived up to the hype? I can't think of any.

I would love to see Chester Pitts in a Bears uniform, provided he passes the physical. he was not a good fit at LT, where they tried him for a year early on in Houston, but as soon as they moved him to LG, he became a very solid player, and could be very good in this system.

This is why I said don't jump at Faneca. There are good players out there. It's just a matter of finding one that fits and is healthiy. That's the hard part.

I'm beginning to think I'm the only one who thinks Beekman is solid. Kruetz is no longer a pro bowler and is worse than all but maybe one other starting OL (Omiyale). If we do pick up a guard, we'd be best served moving Beekman to center to keep him in the lineup. But as we all know this team doesn't pull former pro-bowlers-who-have-since-gone-subpar out of the lineup. We could always use more depth at OL but I don't understand what seems to be a loss of faith in Beekman by our brilliant coaches with a great track record.

I think Josh Beekman will go into camp as the starter at left guard, but will be in competition with 2nd year guard Lance Louis for the job much like he was last summer with Frank Omiyale. I also think Louis will be given every chance to win the job. Going into the off-season left guard was a definite need area, but yet no guard was drafted or signed. I think Chicago liked Louis for the job the whole time. Yes I can still see the Bears signing someone if the right player becomes available, maybe Justin Smiley, but its hard for me to believe Chicago's plan the whole time for the left guard position was to just sit back and wait for a player to become available after the cuts. I think they like Louis and have the whole time.

And why not Lance Louis? Like Smiley he's a smaller, athletic guard who is pretty good in pass protection. During his senior season at San Diego st, Louis started all 11 games at tackle, so you know the guy ain't no stranger to pass blocking. Last summer Louis spent most of his time running with the second team at left guard, even beating out veteran Dan Buenning for a roster spot. If Smiley isn't cut, I think Louis will end up being Chicago's left guard.

The knock on Beekman is his ability as a pass protector. Last season vs the 49ers on november 12th, Beekman was pulled during the game for Omiyale because Beekman was having a hard time going against the 6-4 285lb Justin Smith, especially as a pass blocker. After the game, Lovie Smith, after being asked about the switch said, "we just like Frank's ability to pass block."

As for Omiyale, I've read on the teams web site he will be lined up at right tackle. This should prove to be a better spot for Omiyale. I look for James Marten to maybe push Omiyale for the job, it should be interesting either way GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on April 28, 2010 12:07 PM.

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