From the day he was selected by the Bears in round one of the 2013 draft, the possibility of Kyle Long as a starting tackle has intrigued Chicago football futurists. This week, it has come to pass.
Long - a two-time Pro Bowl selection at right guard - is at right tackle this week with Jordan Mills absent on Wednesday. Vladimir Ducasse, signed away from the Minnesota Vikings this offseason was at right guard.
Whether the change is permanent, however, is far from decided.
“I’m so near-sighted I can’t really think past today or this week,” Long said. “I’ve always felt I could do it but who knows. We have guys that play right tackle so we’re going to figure out where we’re going to go. Right now they needed somebody in practice so I jumped at the opportunity.”
Notably perhaps, left tackle Jermon Bushrod was present but sitting out practice on the next-to-last day of OTA’s before next week’s mandatory minicamp. But Long didn’t “jump” at the opportunity to work at left tackle, nor did coaches send him over to that side. Instead, 2014 seventh-rounder Charles Leno worked in Bushrod’s place with the No. 1 offense.
And simply put, the new coaching staff believes Long could play anywhere along the offensive line.
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“He’s obviously a very, very capable athlete,” said coach John Fox. “He’s got great strength, great athleticism. So I think he’s capable of playing anywhere across the line.
“Right now he’s a starting guard, and we’re out here trying to get better as a football team, learn a new system. We had a shortage of tackles right now. We’ve got a couple guys in the training room. So we took a look at him there today. He can play just about anywhere across the O-line.”