“The Kyle Long North American Tour” concluded Thursday with the two-time Pro Bowl right guard at left tackle, after stints at right tackle during the minicamp. Where Long begins training camp, and ultimately the season, may depend on not only where Long individually is best suited, but also how his positioning affects the overall. For instance:
Is the line better with Long at left tackle and Jermon Bushrod at right, considering that Bushrod has been a solid left tackle most of his career? Do the Bears get stronger at left tackle for the longer term, but lose something by moving Bushrod?
Is Vladimir Ducasse a better right guard than Jordan Mills is a right tackle? Meaning: Assuming Long is an elite player at either guard or tackle, which other player qualifies as the “five best” that coaches typically group as their offensive line?
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And is the difference between non-Long options enough to warrant the change, if the offensive philosophy places a premium on power at the edges in a zone-blocking scheme? Systems by definition place their own priorities; a two-gap defensive scheme requires a different type of lineman than a one-gap, for example.
No position is unimportant, but talent pools and salary cap make it difficult to be elite at every position. The Bears are necessarily folding more factors into the Kyle Long decision than just Kyle Long.