Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Tice focuses on what he can control

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On the first practice of training camp, Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice was already down to his third option at center.

Fixture Olin Kreutz is unsigned, and last year's backup center, Edwin Williams, cannot practice until Friday because of the new CBA rules for restricted free agents who signed their tenders Friday. That meant Roberto Garza, who started most of last season at right guard, took snaps with the first team offense.

"I can't coach someone that's not here," Tice said. "But I can certainly coach the guys that are here and try to put together the best five quickly, and much more quickly than last year."

Tice said he'd "love to have" Kreutz back but that he understood the "business" of the NFL.

"And what I have to have in place is a plan for us, for my bosses and my peers, that's going to enable us to win if we don't get him back," Tice said. "That's where my mind is at right now."

The starting lineup doesn't mean much now, with players in shorts after an offseason demolished by the lockout.

And while Tice acknowledged that he would have experimented more if he'd had an offseason with these players, he still gave Chris Williams -- the former first-round pick who was drafted as a left tackle -- some snaps at center.

The 6 foot 6 Williams bobbled about three snaps and certainly didn't look polished, which wasn't a surprise to Tice. Williams finished last season at left guard.

"I wanted to give Chris a couple of snaps," Tice said. "We have to develop depth, one way or another, with veteran guys."

Tice tinkered with the lineup plenty last training camp, but he said that won't be as necessary this year. He doesn't have as much time to work with the players and he knows most of them. But, he's still trying to get a handle on first-round pick Gabe Carimi is.

" don't know how athletic Carimi is to decide, 'OK, leave him alone on the left or move him over to the right and switch he and J'Marcus [Webb]?' " Tice said. "The issue I'm running into, not having an offseason, you feel a little less aggressive, as far as making a move."

Asked about the perception that the Bears offensive line needs another blue-chip player, Tice said, "We just drafted a left tackle in the first round.

"I feel like I've always felt. There's three ways to get better. The way I can get them better is coach better. And I can coach the players I have to get better. You can draft more players. We did that. You can bring in free agents. To this point, we have not. Other than that, I'm not sure there are any other ways to get them better.

"I'm going to control what I can control, which is to coach them better."

So can his unit succeed, without adding anyone?

"Soon to be determined," Tice said. "That's why they pay me the big bucks."

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I hope they don't bring back Kreutz. Anyone who has watched the Bears closely for the past few years knows that he is a liability on the OL. He has never been a powerful center, but rather relied on his quickness and technique. Besides the fact that he's lost most of his quickness, quickness and technique can only take you so far being a lineman. Without strength and power, you will get beat 9 out of 10 times. He seems to have lost most of his strength and power after the achilles tendon injury. He couldn't contain the guy in front of him if his life was depended on it. As soon as the ball is snappeed, he is driven 2 yards into the back field. This is one of the reasons why Cutler seldom could step up and plant his feet before making a pass.

Please don't sign Kreutz, at least not as a player. He maybe a decent coach someday, but his good years as a decent player are way behind him. He should retire before being exposed as a player who doesn't have much left but tried to hang on for too long.

So Mike Tice says "we just drafted a left tackle in the first round," with an emphasis on the LEFT, Interesting, and today J'Marcus Webb lined up with the first team at right tackle. As an outsider looking in, it looks like rookie Gabe Carimi is gonna get the first crack at left tackle, and I see no reason Gabe Carimi can't play left tackle. I said back during the draft I felt Gabe Carimi was the best tackle coming out, I just never thought the Bears would be able to draft him, I thought for sure he'd be gone by the time the Bears pick was up at #29, he was there! Gabe Carimi won the Outland Trophy after facing 3 of the nations best pass rushers, Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Kerrigan, and Cameron Heyward. And Carimi faced JJ Watts everyday in practice. With a resume like that, why wouldn't you think Carimi is the best tackle coming out? I think the guy is gonna be a heck of a tackle, it will be interesting to see where he lines up GO BEARS!!

The Bears offensive line will benefit from the loss of Olin Kreutz. Every team in the division has pro bowl DTs, and Olin simply doesn't match up. Regardless of his leadership and attitude, he is regularly dominated in the trenches.

I guess it's too late to get Josh Beekman back? Man, if Kreutz leaves, last year's leaky line will look Pro Bowl by comparison. Carimi will probably be very good, but there's only so much you can get from a rook.

Coch Tice , Good luck !!!! i would be frustrated as hell at what the front office and staff are doing to you. the one thing that the entire NFL nation knows and has learned from last year is THE BEARS NEED A BETTER O LINE !!! yet J. A and staff haven't done a thing for you. what the heck ! lets go get another running back and wide receiver. FOR WHAT REASON Cutler will be running for his life as soon as he says hike !! Sorry coach Tice

it would be a cruel joke not to bring in offensive line help after the line was the main reason for not being in the superbowl. Typical Angelo.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 30, 2011 5:37 PM.

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