While doubts abound at multiple spots along the Bears offensive line Chilo Rachal already is out and Chris Spencer in at left guard, Gabe Carimi is in doubt at right tackle right guard is not one of them.
Indeed, quite the opposite, with Lance Louis now among the leading prospects for multi-year contract extension before this season.
I think Lance has had a very consistent year as far as improving, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who began coaching Louis and the Bears offensive line in 2010. I think every week he gets better. Im very pleased with his progress. He has that one or two plays a game that Im sure he would like to have back but hes continuing to improve as a young player, and in leaps and bounds.
His arrow is up.
So is his contract after this year. But whether he ever makes it to free agency is unlikely given that both he and the team would like him to stay in Chicago.
I love it here, Louis said. Love it. No doubt about it I cant think about all of that right now but man, I would love to stay here.
Louis, who once needed a strong final preseason game to ensure getting past final cuts as a rookie, signed a four-year contract after the Bears selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft and has found a home.
More to the immediate situation and timing, the Bears have organizational history of taking early care of offensive linemen they want to keep. Last November the Bears signed center Roberto Garza to a two-year extension. They extended backup centerguard Edwin Williams in late December.
As the Bears address crisis situations elsewhere along the front, locking up what quality there already is in place becomes a priority.
You can see that were getting better as a group, Garza said. You know that if you can keep the guys together over time, you have that chemistry, the ability to play together.
Locking up Louis long term will be a welcome statement in the locker room.
Amid the carnage of the Bears in general and the offensive line in particular last Monday night in San Francisco, two players actually had a teammate speaking in superlatives.
I think Garza played an amazing game, said wide receiver Brandon Marshall. And I just got done watching the film, and watching Lance. Man, we can win with that type of effort. He was just throwing guys around.
Im proud to say Im his teammate, because those are the type of guys you want to win with and if we can all get on that level, the way those guys played, I think well have a chance.