Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Tice says offensive tackle wasn't a "dire need"

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Bears coach Lovie Smith and general manager Phil Emery have defended the team's offensive line throughout the offseason.

During the NFL Draft, the Bears had an opportunity to land highly-rated o-linemen, yet they passed and addressed other positions.

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said they would have address offensive tackle, if they collectively thought it were a problem.

"I think if Phil and Lovie -- with the help of the scouts and the staff -- if we felt tackle were a dire need for us, I'm sure they would have answered the bell on draft day," Tice said. "With the change in scheme, and the change in personality - if you will - and an offseason, and getting some guys healthy, I think we'll make a big jump in the offensive line.

"I think it takes time for young guys to play good in all areas, and I think we have a couple of young guys who have played good football in half the scheme, if you will, and they need to step it up in the other half of the scheme," Tice said. "We have a number of guys like that."

One notable player Tice is clearly referring to is left tackle J'Marcus Webb.

At this juncture, I think Webb could be the No. 1 concern on the team, the player who's play could impact the team the most. I'm not going to project whether he's going to make the jump he needs to. But, since the Bears didn't address his position in free agency or the draft, they've put their eggs in the Webb basket.

If he were to get injured, or he were to absolutely terrible, then the Bears could swing Gabe Carimi to left tackle and try to start Lance Louis or Chris Williams. But will that be good enough?

And don't count on picking up someone off the street; if there were a player who could play at a high level, at that position, they'd certainly be on a roster.

As for Carimi, he's "right on track," according to Tice. What track isn't clear, but it appears Carimi will get on the practice field well before training camp.

"We expect to see him at some point, before the session is over. Of course, Lovie will answer that question, when that's going to be," Tice said. "But sooner than later, so we're pretty excited about that.

"I'm excited about the group."

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Hopefully with a new scheme, the line will get better, they should, getting 1st rounders Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams back will also help. One thing to note, the Bears allowed 26 sacks, more than half the season total of 49, over the final 6 games, all without Cutler, Carimi, and Chris Williams. And over a 7 game stretch, weeks 4-10, the Bears only allowed 9 sacks. Health will be key for the line this season, Carimi and Williams simply need to stay on the field. Jay Cutlers ability to extend plays with his feet will also help, along with more 3 step drops, all should go a long way in cutting back the sack total.

I think the current group can be effective, although, I'd like to see Gabe Carimi at left tackle, and J'Marcus Webb back at right tackle. Webb would probably be more effective on the right side, and Carimi is clearly the teams best tackle.

The question is, who is the swing tackle? Lance Louis maybe? Louis did a solid job filling in, but is clearly not the answer at right tackle, Louis is a guard. Chris Williams maybe, the team still seems to have confidence in him, I think he'll be back at left guard. The darkhorse is rookie James Brown out of Troy, Brown started all 38 games played at Troy at left tackle. Brown has 34.5 inch arms to go along with physical powerful hands, and is quick footed with smooth movement skills to cover a large area. The kid could be a pretty good tackle prospect? I think his size, only 6-3, and the fact he's viewed as more of a guard prospect, are the main reasons he slipped out of the draft. I'm not saying he's the second coming of Jim Covert, but I can't wait to see how he holds up in camp, should be very interesting GO BEARS!!

The most amazing thing about this site is the so called "fans" who constantly blow smoke up their teams backside thinking that it makes them a better "fan". This offensive line is well....offensive. Carimi has to get healthy first, then get comfortable, THEN, maybe then, try a move to LT. Chris Williams is a waste of flesh, bone, tendons, organs, ligaments, blood, and hair. Period. He was soft coming out of college, and is a marshmallow in the pros. Webb is always moving like he is in quicksand. Garza is effective, but old. Spencer/Louis are serviceable, but that is about it. Will a new scheme help? It couldn't hurt. But to draft 3 DB's out of 6 draft choices and completely ignore the OL is laughable at best. And this "diamond in the rough" they got out of Troy. If he shows anything in camp, you have to put him on the roster because you won't be able to hide him on a practice squad. And by all reports, he might be more suited for guard anyway.

Got to love those "fans" who can copy and paste PFW. Real fans blast management when necessary and voice their displeasure at seemingly idiotic moves. I have read most of the posts on here but haven't seen anyone point out the fact that they draft 2 CB's after bringing in 2 via FA. But not 1 offensive lineman was drafted and they pretty much ignored it during FAS as well. Thats either complete ignorance or arrogance. Maybe with the Bears is a bit of both. I almost forgot. "GO BEARS"...oh yeah, and the 2 !!. Makes me want to puke.

Williams and Carimi have not played all that many downs and may well develop into top caliber players , but one could also say the coaches are putting a great deal of faith in mostly untested players. I hope the coaches are justified in their faith in the offensive line, but hope and charity seem somewhat better analytical fits.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on May 12, 2012 9:27 AM.

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