Bears training camp capsules: Offensive line


Bears training camp capsules: Offensive line

At last, time for settling OL is at hand
No position group has undergone the scrutiny and criticism as the Bears offensive line over the past several seasons. It has fused them together with an us-against-the-world mindset, not necessarily a bad thing, and sent them as a group into a brutal, grueling private workout program all this off-season.
No position group will undergo anything close to the monitoring that the line will experience in this training camp. Job competitions will play out and players already in place are intent on demonstrating that the first 10 games of 2011, particularly games 6-10, were the true measure of their group and not the final six.
Despite the doubters, the organization deemed its front-five situation such that it elected not to address the line in the draft, opting for help elsewhere while making coaching changes to the offensive staff that included coordinator, line coach and quarterbackspassing-game coach.
Weve got some talented guys up there, Jay Cutler said. Its just a matter of finding which five and plugging them in there for an extended amount of time so they can get to know each other.
2011 in review
For the offensive line, the season virtually unfolded in three stages. The first three games were marked by a backsliding into then-coordinator Mike Martzs scheming in the pass game that saw Cutler sacked 14 times combined against Atlanta, New Orleans and Green Bay, that last of which saw Matt Forte carry nine times for two total yards.
Mike Tices involvement in game planning was increased, Lovie Smith ordered a move toward balance and the Bears went recovered to go on a five-game win streak to rebound from 2-3 to 7-3. Cutler was sacked five times total in those five wins.
After Cutlers injury, problems escalated with Hanie taking no fewer than four sacks in any of his four starts and Josh McCown finishing the year sacked seven times in Minnesota.
The offensive line was vilified but was forced to field five different starting lines in the first six games because of a knee injury to Gabe Carimi, ankle injury to Lance Louis and poor play by Frank Omiyale. Chris Williams settled in at left guard before he was lost for the season with a wrist injury, replaced by Edwin Williams.
In the end the Bears had rushed for 2,015 yards, just the second time with 2,000 yards over the past 21 seasons. Three different running backs posted 100-yard games (Forte, Marion Barber, Kalil Bell). Cutler was sacked an average of 2.3 times per game, slightly better than the league average.
2012 Training Camp What to Watch
Depth Chart
LT: JMarcus WebbChris Williams
LG: Chris SpencerRicky Henry
C: Roberto GarzaEdwin Williams
RG: Lance LouisChilo Rachal
RT: Gabe Carimi
Notable free agents: Cory Brandon, James Brown
The competition at left tackle will be the most closely watched position of training camp. Webb moved from right to left tackle when camp opened last year, meaning he had no off-season at the position. He failed to secure the spot and was among the leagues worst at sacks allowed and false starts.
Williams was drafted in 2008 to be the left tackle. He was there to open the 2010 season, struggled and was moved to left guard five games into the year after returning from a hamstring injury.
Both Webb and Williams have been starters at right and left tackle. The Bears have felt all off-season that whoever wins the No. 1 job leaves a better-than-average swing tackle.
Mike Tice termed Carimi the Bears best offensive linemen before the rookie went down in week two with a knee injury. The question with Carimi now becomes durability and how well his knee holds up. Expect the Bears to be cautious with his return but they also need hard answers, and soon.
Were excited about Gabe Carimi will bring, coach Lovie Smith said. We talk adding pieces and I look at him as a free agent were adding to the mix. Hes a first-round draft pick who barely played for us last year.
Louis filled in admirably at right tackle last season after securing the starting right guard job in camp. But Louis lost that job in 2010 and is not a given this year. The Bears signed Rachal, a former starter for San Francisco, and Rachal is a bigger, stronger, more proven option at guard.
Chris Spencers preferred position may be center (he was signed to replace Olin Kreutz initially) but he is a smart, disciplined player with as much experience at guard at this point in his career. The Bears list him as a centerguard but Edwin Williams has been working as backup to Garza, a Pro Bowl alternate last season, and Spencer was solid as a replacement for Louis in week two last season.

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”