Positional Analysis: Offensive Line

| February 9th, 2011

The Bears had serious issues on the offensive line at the end of the 2009 season.  In mid-January they hired one of the best line coaches in the sport, Mike Tice.  They believed their second-year, first-round draft pick would assume the role of top tier left tackle.  They believed Frank Omiyale’s versatility would be an asset for them, not for the dozens of edge rushers who treated him as a subway turnstile.  They were wrong.  They turned to a hundred different combinations and rookies in various roles.  The turned everywhere.

Who the Bears decide to commit to along the front five will go a long way to determining how much the offense can improve in year two of the Mike Martz system.  The question is, who will they commit to?
Olin Kreutz
Kreutz is no longer an elite player at his position, struggling at times to get to the outside.  The Bears have also lacked (for some time) the ability to make two yards or less up the middle on crucial downs.  Do I blame Kreutz for all of this?  No.  Can he escape without blame?  No.  He’s a free agent so his asking price may determine whether the club brings him back.  I’d personally like to see one of my all-time favorite Bears finish his career here but the Bears must be actively seeking his replacement. 

Roberto Garza

I have no idea if Roberto Garza is good or not.  Not even joking.  I think he’s a perfectly serviceable right guard.  Nothing more than that.
Chris Williams
The Bears have too much money invested in Williams to expect them to cut ties but I believe he was the poorest performer on the line all season long.  He looks slow, he commits too many penalties and he whiffs on more blocks than I care to remember.  If he were a free agent next month there is no way on earth the Bears would re-sign him.  That should tell you whether he belongs in the starting five.  Best case might be a swing tackle/guard off the bench.  A very expensive swing tackle/guard off the bench.
J’Marcus Webb
Sometimes you have to commit to potential in this league and Webb is 6’8″, 335 pounds of potential.  Webb is a starter in this league, without question, but the true evaluation may be in determining whether or Webb projects to be a better right or left tackle.
Frank Omiyale
He got better, everybody says, but how much?  Some graded Omiyale as a better-than-average left tackle by season’s end but shouldn’t the Bears require more than better-than-average to protect the blindside of their franchise quarterback?  
How many do you target for replacement?  Who stays?  Who goes?