Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Tice wants a lot more from Bears' offensive line

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ticepic.jpgBears offensive coordinator Mike Tice set the stage for the possibility - maybe even the likelihood - of changes for the Bears' offense, specifically on the offensive line.

He laid it out like this Wednesday at Halas Hall:

** "In a season, when you run three-step drops, you should have no sacks at the end of the season. To give up three in one game is totally unacceptable."

** "It's hard to chip bull rushes, because a guy is down the middle of the guy. At a certain point, a player [and] man has to grit his teeth, buck up and win a fight."

** "The concerns offensively -- the lack of rhythm, the lack of the fast stats, the lack of success on first down [are] still haunting us."

** "We're evaluating our guys to see what's going to give us a best chance to succeed and do some of the things we're trying to accomplish offensively."

Asked about changes on the offensive line, Tice didn't rule anything out for Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

One change is known, though. Chris Spencer should play after starting left guard Chilo Rachal left the team for personal reasons and was placed on the reserve/left squad list on Wednesday.

But more may be coming.

"We're looking at everything," Tice said.

What's clear is the Bears' have had enough

The Bears can no longer just hope for progress from their offensive line when many signs - especially against quality teams like the San Francisco 49ers - indicate that it's their ineffectiveness that's the primary reason for their team being ranked 30th in total offense after 11 weeks.

Tice's game plans have been criticized for being predictable and unimaginative - "I have to have better results," he said - but to be fair it's difficult to execute a game plan when the line fails to execute pass protections and run plays.

"It affects everything," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "That's where the game is won -- in the trenches."

So what else happens up front?

Tackles J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi both struggled Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Webb allowed three sacks and five quarterback hurries, while Carimi gave up three sacks, a QB hurry and a QB hit.

But veteran Jonathan Scott can only replace one of them. If anything, Tice intimated that it's Carimi who needs the most work, while with Webb it's strictly his hands.

"I'm not trying to be a jerk, but [it's] all of the above," said Tice when asked what Carimi needs to improve. "He's a young player. He gets all worked up and he doesn't settle down and it compounds. It's happened more than once."

Scott said Wednesday he was unaware of any forthcoming changes at tackle.

"I'm aware of the business of the NFL, it's definitely day-to-day," Scott said. "This is my seventh year so if the opportunity presents itself, I'll just definitely be ready."

Of course, Webb and Carimi also have started every game this season for a reason. Another option is more max protection -- which they used against the Houston Texans -- but that also puts limitations on play-calling. Coach Lovie Smith also made it clear that Tice will continue to call the plays this season.

"We need to establish the running game. I think you build from there," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "We've got to get an identity offensively of who we are and what plays we feel comfortable running.

"Coverage dictates kind of what you can do if you do max protect. You've got to pick your spots and you've got to be smart with your play-calling."

No one takes the line's struggles more personally than center Roberto Garza. After watching the 49ers game film, he described the line's performance against the 49ers as "not acceptable."

"It will never be seen again," Garza said.

But he does understand if changes are made.

"There's no job security when you put in performance like that," Garza said. "Across the board."

After looking at the 49ers film, Marshall said he thought Garza and right guard Lance Louis played well.

"Garza played an amazing game," Marshall said. "And watching Lance, there are some things he may want to clean up. But Lance, man, we can win with that type of effort. He was just throwing guys around.

"I'm proud to say I'm his teammate, because those are the type of guys you want to win with and if we can all get on that level, the way those guys played, I think we'll have a chance."

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Very interesting to see Marshall's comments regarding Garza and Louis, and very telling that he didn't mention JWebb and Carimi. He's obviously seen enough OL play to know what's going to allow for an offense to function.

The change to Spencer won't make a lot of difference other than to potentially cut down on the penalties and I think at this point Scott needs to be inserted at either of the T spots, most likely RT because Carimi is playing awful right now. Or perhaps they need to flip Webb back to the right side and put Scott in at LT, in anticipation of finding a new LT next year. All of this ultimately is band-aiding the problem, but that's where the Bears are at this point, and there aren't any great answers on the street.

The play of right guard Lance Louis, along with Brandon Marshall, have been the only bright spots on offense this season. Louis is having a pretty good season and you gotta love the nastiness he brings up front, now Chicago just has to get 3 other linemen to play like Louis and they'll be good.

All kiddin aside, there is no answer on the roster. I don't look for Chris Spencer to be much of an upgrade over Chilo Rachal. Penalties are the main reason Spencer went to the bench earlier this season, off sides, holding etc etc. Maybe giving Edwin Williams a shot wouldn't be a bad idea, seems to me he played pretty solid for Chicago the last time he started, so maybe?

I see the Bears moved rookie tackle James Brown up, his play was pretty good during the pre-season, a lot of his problems were mental, basically just not knowing the playbook and being out of postion. Maybe now 4 months later he'll know a little more than when he was fresh out of Troy. I seen him play pretty good one on one as a pass protector last summer. If Webb's biggest problem are his hands, the scouting report on Brown says he has physical powerful hands, could he be any worse than Webb? I doubt it. The biggest let down this season has been the play of right tackle (for a reason) Gabe Carimi, he's starting to look like a complete bust, he needs to step up, big time. Should be interesting GO BEARS!!

Yeah, and Tice should be demoted back to line coach. He has no idea what he's doing as offensive coordinator, he's reached his level of incompetence.

Why do want Tice as the line Coach? He hand picked this line. Martz took all the blame last year but his line is getting crushed this year and it's playing a very conservative style. You should not be giving up this much pressure running all these three steps and quick drops. He hand picked most of this line, so that also falls on him. Webb was his guy and so Carimi who is friends with his son and Tice has known for years is one of the worst Pass blockers in the nfl. He moved Garza to center, and people have been giving Garza credit, even though he is one of the three worst centers in football. He is neither strong as a run blocker nor athletic as a pass blocker, he's noteven good at snapping the ball. LG has been a hole and has seen 4 starters in 2 years, Williams was benched and released, Spencer was benched and Rachel was benched, they also used thatother Williams kid. Louis is another of his hand picked players. But Louis is only a bellow average pass blocker and is weak at the point of attack in the run game. He is a right guard who can't run block. And don't forget Webb one of the worst linemen if football who he has consisatantly stood behind. Spencer, Rachel, Carimi, Webb, these are his hand picked guys.

So what exactly has Tice done? Improved run blocking some, but pass blocking remains a joke. They struggle to protect 3 steps with extra help. That is unheard of in the nfl.

Lovie is also accountable, he is a head coach with no offensive philosophy. He says they get off the bus running and has said that for almost a decade. But the Bears are anything but a running team. Lovie has little to do with the offense, and does not seem to care if he gives up 50 sacks a season or gets his franchise player hurt. Cutler was never hurt until he came here, and any QB is going to get hurt when they are getting hit this much. Look at Campbell, he almost didn't make it through one game. Lovie has a ton of say in the draft picks, and how often has he ignored the line. McClellin was the first new pick and he made that choice with the new GM. What kind of stupid pick was that? You could of picked any linmen position on the board and he goes with a player that made next to no sense for this team. For his own system even. McClelling, is so bad that he can't and is not allowed to play the run, and he is a bad pass rusher. He may get a hustle sack if he is lucky and that's about it and they new that he was basically a hustle playing LB who only fit a 3-4. He is small, weak and has no explosion. Both Izzy and Wooton are better than him and he has no buisness on the field. Not one offensive linmen was drafted by the Bears last year, there greatest position of need and they totally ignore it, to take a 1st round non starter and play him out of position, a soft bodied WR who people said would get hurt in the nfl because of his soft body, a hybrid fullback who almost never sees the field, an injury prone DB who is injured, and a couple of bad corners one of whom is already cut.

They have already shortened Cutlers career by a couple of years at least. Lovie has no idea what he wants to do with his offense, he has brought in some Martz stlye OC's including martz and some west coast OC's, neither of those offenses are famed for running the ball.

Did anyone else watch the 49ers game and think gosh that team looks like a Chicago team and I am not talking about the Bears? A 3 and out defense that just beats the snot out of an offense, a power run game based offense, that uses a line that should remind you of the line the Bears had in the mid and late 80's and actually runs a lot of their stuff, efficient passing game with an athletic QB, and a former Bears player coaching the team. What happened? The Bears want to be the Rams or the Bucs and the 49ers want to be the 80's Bears, while the Packers have become the 80's 49ers.

It's often said a team takes on it's coaches identity. When that is said I don't believe thay are talking about a his personality. But rather they learn to think like the coach and follow his philiosophy, to become the coaches vision of what he sees for the team. It's clear as day what the teams defensive identity is. But sense Lovie has been here this team has lacked any offensive identity, because the head coach has no offensive identity. In 04, 10, and 11 he tried a Martz style offense, between those years he had the Turner offense which was pretty much the exact opposite, and now they are runnig a mix of the Turner, Shanahan, Martz, and Tice Randy ratio philosophies. Which is totally representative of Lovie in that it does not have areal identity. It's just some mixed up mess that does not know what it wants to be. Something Lovie has never known himself, he wants a good offense he just has no idea of what style, or type he wants. His biggest imput is that he wants it to work.

But you also should consider what kind of effect that has on the mentality of a team. Lovie spends all his time focused on the defense, he calls plays for the defense, he spends most of his time with the defensive players and coaches, and has even coached the nickle position for them the Bears personally. He works with the defense, he works on the defense, he is part of the defense.

But what is Lovie to the offense? Have you ever seen Lovie talking to Cutler on the sideline? Have you ever seen him show much intrest i the offense? Believe it or not that is going to have an effect on the offense. I know he is a defensive coach but why isn't he a head coach? He seems to just work in one department. When the offense thinks of Lovie do you think they think of a guy who they are close with? We know the defensive players love the guy. But as much as I like to think the offense plays hard, I think players play harder for a guy they are happy with. I doubt considering how often the offense is ignored that they are killing themselves for Lovie, they didn't like Turner, the didn't like Martz and now they have Tice who I am sure they like but are they happy with what he is doing or do they feel ignored and on the short end of the Bears organization again? Happy employees tend to work harder becausee they enjoy what they are doing, and I can't imagine they are that happy on offense, nor do I think they have been for a long time. Heck one of the players Rachel just walked out on the team.

Good observations Creighton, errrr, I mean "anonymous" wink-wink LOL. For years now under Lovie you see the offense being treated like second class citizens. Different offensive coordinators have been brought in, different linemen and while special players like Cutler and Forte, and most recently Marshall, can at times hold the offense's head above water, there's always a thin line between a good performance and a complete collapse like on Monday night or the 2010 game against the Giants. A real head coach would be involved with all phases of the game. Hence why Lovie can field some good teams that are just short of being great.

What i think needs to be done is to put each one of the O-line in their natural positions, putting them in different positions will confuse them and make for bad results. Carimi should've been the starting LEFT tackle instead Tice makes him the right tackle, he was known as a pass blocker. Spencer should be a center, which he was before coming to Chicago, not left guard or right guard. Garza should go back to being a guard instead of a center. JMarcus Webb should be either Right Guard or Right Tackle. Lance Louis should be right tackle. I know this was already pointed out but, if Tice actually follows a real game plan and put offensive lineman in their natural positions instead of trying to mix it up and hope for the better , stop experimenting cause it's hope for the worse.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on November 21, 2012 3:49 PM.

Starting guard Chilo Rachal abruptly leaves Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

Mike Tice will continue to call the Bears' plays is the next entry in this blog.

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