Your starting right tackle for the 2009 Chicago Bears — Cody Balogh! Ugh! No offense, I don’t even know Cody and he could probably give me a good ass whuppin, but the undrafted free agent and practice squad vet is all that’s left. The cupboard is bare. As John St. Clair sings “Cleveland Rocks” for twice the money the Bears offered and John Tait rides off into his “golden years” at the ripe old age of 34, the Bears offensive line looks to sport 3 new starters in 2009. Here’s how your starting offensive line shapes as of the first day of mini-camp:
LT – Chris Williams- 1st round pick last season didn’t start a game last season as someone missed the Fragile sticker on butt at the combine last year.
LG – Frank Omiyale- the Bears big free agent splash this offseason is a journeyman tackle that they’ve had their eye on since 2005. Those Bears are persistent. They always get their man!
C – Olin Kreutz – the elder statesman of the Bears and unquestioned leader of the offense , Olin has been anchoring the line since the Wannstedt regime.
RG – Roberto Garza – a free agent pickup a couple of years ago has proven serviceable, but hardly spectacular.
RT – Cody Balogh – ??? With Tait’s retirement and St. Clair’s departure, this is what we’re left with until the draft. Long snapper Patrick Mannelly reportedly filled in as the backup in some drills. ‘Nuff said!
I knew there was a reason the Bears scheduled a mini-camp before the draft: to confirm how putrid this line is going to be. At least in the past, there was some consistency and continuity. Now, we’re left with 2 old guys and 3 unproven new starters.
Now all the Bears have left to do in the offseason is:
1. Draft a right tackle.
2. Draft a #1 receiver. (Or a #2 if you believe Devin Hester.)
3. Stabilize the quarterback position, Jay Cutler be damned!
4. Get a free safety.
5. Get a pass rusher
What else am I missing? I thought my honey-do list was long. Good thing Free Agency hasn’t started yet and we can take care of some of these before the draft. Otherwise, we would have no room for error in drafting. Oops, too late. It’s fortunate that Jerry Angelo has such a stout track record for drafting offensive talent that he can find some gems to fill some of those glaring needs. Double oops.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not weeping at the loss of St. Clair. I saw a stat recently that showed he ranked in the bottom 5 among starting left tackles in sacks allowed in 2008. At this point, it’s the principle of the thing. Are the Bears just tanking the upcoming season? Have the McCaskeys taken away Jerry’s allowance? Can we just call it a re-building year and leave it at that? I’d appreciate the honesty for a change.