A late-round long shot with an abundance of personality should have transitioned easily into the role of fan favorite in Chicago. But J’Marcus Webb is instead the most universally derided player on the Bears roster (and it’s not close).
The reason is social media.
Fans have a single deep-rooted fear – the fear the they, the ones buying tickets and jerseys, care more about game results than the actual players. When Webb struggles on Sunday and discusses the re-release of the McRib on Monday he perpetuates that fear. Webb is the first Chicago Bears player to be bamboozled by Facebook and Twitter. His “J-Webb Nation” was developed as a somewhat cute fan-building project and has instead become the target at which the arrows of fan anger are fired.
Webb is not a bad football player. Both Mike Tice and Aaron Kromer have lauded his physical tools. But he projects himself as an uncommitted one. And lack of commitment is not something fans are willing to bear. (Yeah I know.)
Enter Jordan Mills. After a few bad practices and poor effort in the preseason opener Kromer and Marc Trestman may have seen enough of J-Webb Nation. Mills is a big, nasty prospect from Louisiana Tech and he’s not the type of man who’ll let this opportunity slip through his fingers. (He famously called himself the starting right tackle moments after he was drafted.)
If I’m the decision makers at Halas Hall, Mills is the starting right tackle on opening day even if he struggles over this next month. Commit to youth. Commit to the future. And perhaps most importantly, send a message to J’Marcus Webb that his lack of commitment will be met with more than practice demotions and newspaper quotes about maturity. Force Webb to stand on the sideline and watch Mills play a real game against a real opponent.
The possible results:
- Jordan Mills fits in seamlessly and stays at right tackle for the next five years.
- Mills struggles and a newly-motivated Webb steps back in a few weeks into the season.
- Jonathan Scott returns to the starting lineup once healthy.
It’s not complicated. J’Marcus Webb can only be a project for so long. At some point he needs to be a producer. And without production imminent, it is time for a change.