Inexperienced tackles holding their own in Bears' O


Inexperienced tackles holding their own in Bears' O

Thursday, Sept, 15, 2011Posted: 10:45 p.m.

By John Mullin Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Right tackle Gabe Carimi declared during this years NFL Scouting Combine that he considered himself the best of the tackles in this draft class. If you back it up, its not bragging.

And Carimi wasnt bragging.

I didnt feel out-matched, Carimi said. I feel like I can have a solid game against opponents.

The performances of Carimi and bookend partner JMarcus Webb, against two of the better defensive-end rushers in the NFC, were definitely not out-matched.

The record will show quarterback Jay Cutler sacked five times by the Atlanta Falcons defense. That record will not be the full story.

Only two of the sacks were directly traceable to failures on the offensive line, following a trend that began almost unnoticed last season when the O-line became a punch line and punching bag after the debacle against New York on national TV.

This becomes particularly significant for two crucial reasons:

Elite competition

The performances, particularly those of young tackles Carimi and Webb, came against Atlanta defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards, who accounted for a combined 21 sacks in 2010.

They will face few more difficult end tandems this season.

I felt good, Webb said. My coaches and teammates felt good about me and supported me. Mistakes are going to be made and youve got to learn from it and give it your all the next time.

The next time comes Sunday in New Orleans against two defensive ends Jeff Charleston, Turk McBride who each have fewer career sacks than Edwards alone had last season.

Domino effect

The second major reason is because tackles who can handle their edges, without jury-rigging the protections to cover for or help, loom as perhaps the single biggest difference between the Mike Martz offense of 2010 (30th yardage, 21st in scoring) and the one that put 23 points against an Atlanta defense that ranked fifth in the league in scoring defense.

The ability of the tackles to handle Abraham, Edwards and reserve Lawrence Sidbury was vital in freeing Matt Forte to get out of the backfield and into the passing game. Indeed, 14 of Cutlers 32 pass attempts went to running backs and tight ends, two for TDs.

They played well; those guys played well, Cutler said. They have to continue to do well.

Can you hear me?

The noise of the Superdome has been amply chronicled. Theres certain parts of the field youre not going to be able to hear a thing, line coach Mike Tice.

The task, particularly for young players like Carimi and Webb (Roberto Garza and guards Chris Spencer and Chris Williams have a combined 234 NFL starts), is to dial down the angst that comes with not being able to hear. That situation is exacerbated for players out on edges.

The bottom line is youre not going to be able to hear crap, Tice said. Were going to get edgy. Hopefully on those plays where we get edgy, we get the ball out fast Hopefully there wont be too many of those.

Youve got to talk them off the roof. Its happened and itll happen long as footballs football. You just dont want to compound errors.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season,'s Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.