Mike Tice admitted Wednesday that the line he thought he had during offseason workouts isn't the line he ended up with during training camp.
"In shorts, I thought I had a group that was gonna go into training camp and rock and roll," the Bears offensive line coach said. "But then you put pants and shoulder pads on and some of those guys you saw flying around there in shorts, we're like, 'Where did they go?' You're looking around for them, [but] they disappeared. So playing is really the only way to get better as an offensive line, and of course playing together... getting guys playing together. The communication. I like where we are today and hopefully we can build on that and put a four-quarter game together."
Tice said that having too many protections and therefore confusing his linemen has not been the problem.
"I don't know where that's coming from," he said. "In fact, the numbers that we carried in the Seattle game --- I thought someone wrote six protections. I don't know where you're getting your information from --- but we carry in the low 20s every week. We might call 15 to 16, 17 of those in a game. For me, that's been the norm. I don't know how that's been on other teams. So saying that we're carrying too many protections, I don't buy that. I don't think that's an area where we can make an excuse for young or old guys. I don't buy into that. We're not carrying too many protections."
Hopefully for Tice, with Roberto Garza returning to right guard, the line will get some much-needed continuity, allowing more of them to play "winning football."
"We should improve just based on that, you know," he said. "The way I've looked at it over time is this: If three guys out of five play winning football in a game, you should win some games. If four out of five guys play winning football in a game, unless you turn the ball over a whole lot, you should win the game because not all five are gonna play winning football in a game. Every play is a street fight. I coached one of the greatest linemen to play in Randall McDaniel and Randall McDaniel never graded 100 percent. So there's not a lineman that I've seen. Name one. I don't care. Name all the greatest linemen ever to play. There's not a lineman I've seen that's blocked his guy every single play. It just doesn't happen. So to expect that is a pipe dream. But what we have to do is have four guys grade out... I don't care what four they are. Hopefully your center is one of them because he's the focal point and he's making all the calls. [If] four guys grade out winning football, we'll win a lot of football games if we don't turn the ball over. [If] three guys [play winning football], we're gonna win some. [If] two [play winning football] we're not gonna win many. That's the only way I know it. I only know it that way from experience. That's what I tell my peers, and my bosses is that we've got to get more guys to play winning football."