Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Martz says Chris Spencer will have to earn starting spot

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Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz isn't ready to hand his starting center spot to Chris Spencer.

Currently, longtime starting guard Roberto Garza has been in the position that Olin Kreutz manned for so long. But Martz, who spoke glowingly of Garza, made clear Spencer won't have anything handed to him.

"Now that's up to Chris," Martz said. "I mean, we're very happy with Garza, too. We're not going to anoint anyone the starter over anyone. He may not make it. I don't know. He's got to come in and compete at that position.

"But he's a veteran who has played well. He's a good player. So, if he's not better than what we have, then he won't be the starter. Be very careful about anointing anyone the starter over anyone else. Like I said, we're happy with our starters now and the progress they are making and what they can eventually do. We're happy with that.

Martz said he's encouraged by what his current starting group can do, noting that moving J'Marcus Webb to the left side might help, because the second-year player seems more comfortable.

"He's very athletic," Martz said. "Now [Gabe] Carimi, as he comes in, is going to learn what's going on. But he's not intimidated by anything now. He's got that great work ethic. He's athletic. He's what we were looking for."

Martz said the loss of Kreutz was "unexpected," and added it "hurt all of us."

Martz indicated he would like to add at least one more veteran offensive lineman.

"I think we would all like to have a couple more veteran linemen. I don't think that's any different than any camp right now," he said. "I don't know if you can ever have enough quality offensive linemen, to do just what you talked about."

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8 Comments

Mike Martz saying Chris Spencer will have to earn the starting center job is fine and dandy, but it seems to me Spencer already did when Chicago gave him $6 million over 2 seasons. Chris Spencer has spent most of his career snapping the football, Garza hasn't, not saying Garza can't do the job, but Chicago would be better off putting Garza back at his more natural right guard spot and putting Spencer at center. Chicago needs to start building some continuity on their line, they paid Spencer to play center, get him in there and lets get going GO BEARS!!

OK I get it. Martz likes to have some veterans around just in case. Let's review.

The last time Martz wanted a veteran they did a knee jerk, dumped a decent drafted prospect, and got Todd Collins. Martz proceeded to start Collins over Hanie. From where I was sitting it wasn't close, the inexperienced Hanie was clearly the better player.

That may have cost them the NFC championship game and a trip to the Super Bowl.

There is a reason that, even though Martz really is a genius, he is no longer a head coach. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail here and they won't trade a high pick for Mark Columbo or somebody.

Look, I Understand Martz is the O-coordinator, but Tice is the Line coach who we pay a lot of money to, and blocked from going elsewhere in the league. Anyone who thinks Tice will not be the one to make the final decision is kidding themselves. Kevin A: I understand Spencer got paid big (chicago) bucks to come on board, but if he's out of shape or can't pick up the protections fast enough he won't be in the line up.

This team has five young live bodies that I know of to work into the mix, Garza may also be on his last legs as a Bear. I've heard Louis is being thrown back into the mix, they have Edwin williiams, Chris williams, Webb, Carmini, the rook center from O-State and I believe Levi Horn to look at in camp, I believe in Tice he'll get the line fixed and Cutler will be upright most of the season........

Hey Sean; how are the corners looking, this is where we need to add some competition in my opinion to strenghten the Defense which is starting to get a little long in the tooth on the back seven.

MS Bears Fan:

Columbo was signed by the Dolphins late last night after being cut by the Cowboys so there would not have been compensation for him.

More McKinnie is free in Minnesota. Anyone for an overweight and out of shape LT??

Oops. I was being sarcastic about Columbo. I think Orlando Pace is still out there too.

I'm hoping the Bears stay the course and let the kids play.

Seriously I go on record as saying the Bears O-line will be OK this year. They actually started focusing on the line a couple years ago and it just takes this long to show an impact. It took Martz and Tice till the bye last year to get on the same page, but they will start the year running the ball instead of putting Cutler's head on the block. The passing game will gel as the year goes along.

Losing Kreutz may cause them a short term setback, but this line is going to come together and play well this year. One or two of the younger players will step up and sieze the opportunity. The good news is that when they do, they will have a core of linemen for several years to come.

I really think that so line up and take your best shot.

I think Martz was sending a message to Angelo. It doesn't seem any of the coaches were supportive of Angelo's idiocy regarding Kreutz. Martz might be saying that Angelo picked you, but you don't compare to what we had. And, that is a fine point!

Thanks for the update Sean ! So you don't think we need to look at any veteran help out there. Carlos rogers is available and he has been serviceable in the past !

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 2, 2011 1:55 PM.

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