The biggest concern heading into the 2010 campaign for the Bears has to be the offensive line. So many of the problems this preseason – Jay Cutler sacks, blocked punts and field goals, and overall offensive disorganization – seem to stem from a porous offensive line.
Brad Biggs touches on how the Bears seem intent of rebuilding their offensive line with youth rather than trying another patchwork solution. Patchwork veterans like Reuben Brown, Fred Miller and John Tait have worked in the past, but no more of that. Mike Tice and the Bears will get it done with young projects along the line.
“We spent a goodly amount of money with offensive linemen,” Angelo said Monday night in a live broadcast on WBBM-AM 780 from the Walter Payton Center. “Fred Miller, Ruben Brown, John Tait, those are just a few guys we went out aggressively on most of them and we had competition for their services. What we want to do, and we’d like to do it at every position if we can, bring players in, young players and develop them. That is what we are doing now with our offensive line. We have a good nucleus of young offensive linemen and coach Tice who came in from the outside, brand new, looked at them. He could have said, ‘Jerry, we need to bring in a couple of veterans.’ He said, ‘Jerry, I want to work with this young line. I like what I see.’
First of all, “a goodly amount?” Jerry Malaprop Angelo is already in midseason form. Here’s the rub to this theory. The Bears claim to be rebuilding with young players, but they’ve failed to make any REAL investments in young linemen. As Biggs points out, the Bears spent an NFL-low one – yes ONE – draft pick in the first 5 rounds of the 2003 – 2007 drafts on offensive linemen. And the one pick in that timeframe, Josh Beekman, just got cut.
The Bears did of course invest in Chris Williams in the first round of the last draft in which they actually selected a player in the first round and he promptly sat out half his rookie year with a bad back. He had a flash of a few games late last season where he seemed to come on, but this preseason he seems to have regressed.
How can you rebuild your offensive line with youth if you’re spending 7th round picks and undrafted free agents to do the rebuilding? It sounds like a flawed plan to me.