Chicago Sun-Times

Bears OC Mike Tice raises the bar for offense, line

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There's no telling if the Bears' offense will be as productive as it looks like it can be with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte et al. But from our vantage point in Bourbonnais, it's refreshing to know that offensive coordinator Mike Tice has the same expectations as everybody else in Chicago.

And, better yet, it looks like Tice will publicly hold them to that high standard.

''We want to be good. We want to be better than good,'' Tice said after practice Tuesday. ''We set the bar very high. And if you're going to achieve that, you have to come out here every day and get better at something, and that's all we're asking the guys to do: each day come out and get better at something.

''Including coaches - like on fourth-and-one, I should've run the quarterback sneak. A little greedy in practice, nothing on the line, you're just working your stuff, should've run the quarterback sneak. I'll get better at that and the guys'll get better at their things. So if we all get better at something each day collectively, we're going to make a big jump."

Though Tice is running the entire offense, the offensive line is still his baby. And he's keeping the heat on that group as well.

''I can tell you right now they'll be able to run block,'' he said. "[But] I told them the other that that's not going to be the [sole criterion] to determine who's going to be out there. With all the great athletes we have who can catch the football, including our running backs, we've got to be able to protect the quarterback. So I'm looking for consistency in pass protection.''

Tice said right tackle Gabe Carimi ''has a rays to go'' to regain the form that made him the Bears' best offensive lineman just five quarters into his NFL career last season. ''He's very determined,'' Tice said. ''He's knocking the rust off, but he'll be the first to tell you he's got a ways to go.''

It doesn't sound like Tice will let the battle at left tackle between Chris Williams and J'Marcus Webb linger as camp progresses. He said he will decide on a starter ''sooner than later. But not tomorrow.

''I need to see them in pads more. That's why we're rotating them the way we are. Let's not be foolish. I'm grading them against Peppers and 71 [Israel Idonije]. I don't care what they do against the rest -- no insult to the rest of the guys. But I want to see how they do against two of the better guys in the league.''

Thus far, it appears Webb has the edge. But it's early.

''I thought Chris was having a good camp,'' Tice said. ''There were a couple of things [Tuesday] that I didn't like and I thought J'Marcus was on the other end of it -- I thought today he has his best day, in my opinion. There were a couple of things in two-minute, [though] I wasn't watching that closely, I felt he could have done better.''

The offense -- an in particular the addition of Marshall -- seems to have increased the competitiveness of Bears training camp compared to previous years. But it will be at least until the first preseason game before we see tangible evidence.

''The guys are working extremely hard,'' Tice said. ''I know this: If you work hard, there's nothing you can do but get better ... so we're proud of that and we're proud of them. But we continually have to clean things up. That's just the way it goes.''

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To me, it sounds like J'Marcus Webb has the edge. I think sometime next week Tice will name a starter, he has to, continuity is key to having success up front. They gotta get someone in there and establish a starting 5.

As far as Webb, maybe Tice was right and year 3 is when the light comes on for offensive linemen. Lance Louis didn't look bad last season in his 3rd year, he wasn't a Pro-Bowler by any means, but filled in nicely at right tackle, especially for a guy that most scouts felt was better suited at guard, which he is.

I'm still hearing good things about rookie tackle James Brown, Tice has been lining him up at left tackle as of late, he's one to watch as the pre-season goes on. Thats gonna be the real test for Webb/Willaims also GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 1, 2012 9:08 AM.

Bears Tuesday training camp practice report was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears rookie WR Alshon Jeffery looking good, so far is the next entry in this blog.

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