Bears OL shuffle is the norm, not the exception
November 22, 2012, 1:09 pm
Maybe everyone should be used to this sort of thing.
The anticipated – annual? – shakeup of the Bears’ offensive line proceeded Thursday with Jonathan Scott replacing Gabe Carimi at right tackle and Chris Spencer returning to left guard in place of Chilo Rachal, who had been his replacement after the Green Bay game.
“It felt pretty good, getting the calls down and communicating, things of that nature,” Scott said. “I think it’s definitely conducive to winning.”
For Carimi it was a tough epilogue to a disastrous outing against the San Francisco 49ers and rush linebacker Aldon Smith, who abused Carimi, J'Marcus Webb and others for 5.5 sacks, a record for any Bears opponent.
“It seemed like it just kept rolling worse and worse,” Carimi said. “I didn’t play my best and I can only talk about myself. I needed to do a better job and didn’t…. I needed to step up and I didn’t.” Situation normal: in complete flux
It is far from the first time that the Bears have had to scramble with a shuffle on the offensive line, not the first time Spencer has been a key figure, and not the first time that right tackle has been an issue.
Spencer began last year on the bench but was dropped in at right guard in Weeks 2-4 when Louis was down with an ankle injury and then just held out. Louis returned for Game 5 but by then the struggles of Frank Omiyale in place of Carimi had become unacceptable and Louis was shunted out to right tackle and Spencer brought in at right guard again.
Chaos does not automatically translate to collapse. The 2010 team had four different front-five’s – three different starting right tackles – in the first six games. The result was a 4-2 mark in that stretch even with the nine-sack first half against the New York Giants that cost them a Jay Cutler game with a concussion.
If the Bears go 4-2 from this point, they are 11-5 and a virtual lock for the playoffs.
Searching for depth in the “draft”
The Bears didn’t address their offensive line in the draft because the organization believed the tackle tandem of J’Marcus Webb and Carimi, a No. 1 in the 2011 draft, was adequate at the time, with an arrow pointing up. Carimi was one of the top linemen when he was injured, so the expectation for improvement was anything but a stretch.
But you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many tackles and the Bears quietly “drafted” three extras: James Brown, a surprise undrafted free agent, signed April 29; Corey Brandon, an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay last year, signed June 15; and Scott, added on Sept. 10. Brown and Brandon wound up on the practice squad.
The Bears appear to like Tampa Bay castoffs. Besides Brandon, defensive tackle Brian Price was signed during training camp (cut after preseason) and guard Chris Riley was signed on Thursday after spending the majority of the 2011 season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad.
Tags: San Francisco 49ers
, Chicago Bears
, J'Marcus Webb
, Chilo Rachal
, Gabe Carimi
, Aldon Smith
, Chris Spencer
, Jonathan Scott