Chicago Sun-Times

So far, so good: Carimi looks like he belongs

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It was only the first day in pads, but Bears rookie offensive tackle Gabe Carimi looked like he belonged right where he was Monday night -- with the first team offense.

Carimi, the first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin who had been playing left tackle with the second unit in the first two days of practice, started at right tackle with the first team in the Bears' first full-contact practice and at least appeared to hold his own.

''First, he's a rookie coming in. You just want to see how they move,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ''So we just feel like right now we want to look at Gabe on the right side. He can play both, but keep everything in pencil.''

Carimi played left tackle in college, so the right side is an adjustment. But whether he was up against Israel Idonije, Julius Peppers or Henry Melton he didn't appear overmatched. He acknowledged some ''rookie mistakes,'' but didn't seem too fazed by them.

''It was good. When I got my technique down I was making plays,'' Carimi said. ''First practice in pads, there are some things to clean up -- just watch the film and I should be able to do that.''

Smith didn't want anyone to get too carried away, but the fact that the Bears put Carimi up against Peppers and Idonije in his first practice in pads after having no offseason workouts with the team, said plenty.

''He's gonna be a good football player, and the best way for him to make improvement is to go against our defensive ends. Israel Idonije is a good player. Every time he gets an opportunity to go against a player like Julius Peppers, he won't play against a better player during the season.''

It has to be overwhelming for a rookie to get a grasp of everything in Mike Martz's offense when he's had had virtually no on-field time in it. Asked how quickly he's picking things up, Carimi said, ''I'd say fairly well. There's still some mental errors I'm making right now when we're going full speed. But I just have to keep hitting the books and get this thing down pat.''

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2 Comments

Chicago had the best tackle in the draft fall right in their laps, I think he's gonna be the real deal. Its nice to hear he's looking good so far, and the fact he was thrown right in against the likes of Julius Peppers and held his own proves he might be a legit tackle. I still say Carimi could end up at left tackle, the "keep everything in pencil" comment by Lovie Smith, to me, means Chicago might want to start Carimi out at right tackle to see how he holds up vs NFL ends, but once he comes on, will be moved to left tackle. Its gonna be interesting GO BEARS!!

I don't understand all the hand wringing over Olin Kreutz.

Yes, he was a good/very good player. But he wasn't "great"; at least not at this point.
Yes, he was their unquestioned leader. But so what? Their OL stunk. 56 sacks?
Yes, he has 13 NFL years on that body, and wanted $4.5M.

Maybe they miss him a little, but Olin Kreutz is NOT the difference between them going 12-4 vs. 7-9. No Center is that valuable.

Simply put, the OL can't be worse than last year. Just impossible.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 1, 2011 11:28 PM.

August 1 Practice Observations was the previous entry in this blog.

Rookie WR Sanzenbacher making good impression is the next entry in this blog.

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