While we’ve all been distracted by the left side of the Chicago Bears’ offensive line, the right side of the line has just sort of been taken for granted. Not so fast if you listened to offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Almost a full calendar year after suffering a season ending knee injury, Mike Tice is pleased with Gabe Carimi’s progress. Well I should hope so. The knee wasn’t believed to be too serious when Carimi went down in the first half of game #2 against the Saints. But while Carimi has looked good in his limited action in the preseason, Mike Tice isn’t taking anything for granted with the second year tackle.
“We’re going to certainly be very careful if it appears that he’s getting tried,” Tice said of Carimi. “We have other guys — Chris (Williams) — who can spell him. But I’m anxious to see Carimi play.
And we all thought that Chris Williams was getting reps at right tackle in the preseason to practice being the swing tackle. Turns out he was spelling Carimi who’s still on the mend and will take a while:
“He’s going to take a while to be up to full speed,” Tice said. “The endurance in his leg is going to come with game time.”
All we’ve talked about this entire offseason has been the left tackle spot because we’ve assumed that the right tackle spot was taken care of with a returning Carimi. If he’s not right, the line situation could get really murky. You’d have Williams, who wasn’t good enough to win the left tackle job from the less-than-sensational J’Marcus Webb anchoring the right side of the line and you’d have two bookends that need help.
The issue hasn’t escaped Jay Cutler, who’s might as well have a big bullseye on his back:
“We can only do as much as they can handle,’’ Cutler said of his offensive line. “If they can only block three-step drops, we can only throw three-step passes. We’re limited to what they can do and as of now, they’ve been holding up really well.
“We’ve got some guys that can play football on the outside. There’s no doubt about that. It’s gonna hopefully make my job easier; being able to get them the ball, let them work. Up front I think the guys know that there’s some pressure on them because Matt Forte can run if we give him holes. If I get the guys the ball on the outside and we hold up enough time we can make some good plays. So it’s gonna be fun to watch.’’
If you say so Jay. You can only audible yourself out of so many jams. Let’s hope this is just a little gamesmanship by Tice and the Bears, playing opossum with Carimi. If not, Cutler might have to learn how to play opossum in the Bears backfield.