According to ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson, the Chicago Bears are already shaking up their starting offensive line. Sorry JWebb Nation haters, J’Marcus Webb wasn’t the first casualty. Sixth-year veteran left guard Chris Spencer has been sent to the bench and will be replaced by Chilo Rachal. Rachal spent four years in San Francisco and signed a one-year contract with the Bears this offseason. The changing of the left guard is the first of what appears to be a turbulent season for Bears offensive linemen.
Spencer, a converted center, started 14 games for the Bears last season at right guard, performing much better than expected. However, since being moved to left guard this preseason, he has struggled mightily. His poor play has flown under the radar with the latest spotlight on left tackle J’Marcus Webb. Spencer has missed his share of blocks already this season and has one holding penalty in two games.
It’s very encouraging to see that the Bears coaching staff pulled the plug on Spencer this early. He would have been a liability all season. Rachal didn’t turn a lot of head in the preseason, but giving him a chance is a smart move. No sense in wasting any more time on Spencer, who is in the final year of his contract.
At 6’5” 323 lbs., Rachal is a bigger body, who has a high ceiling. He is a former second-round pick, who never quite gelled in San Francisco. A fresh start in a new town could be just what the 26 year old needs. Hopefully, center Roberto Garza, who has played extended time at both guard positions, can help Rachal bolster a line that needs all the help it can get.
This move can only beg the question, would Chris Williams have been a better replacement at left guard? Or do the Bears really think he will soon take over for Webb at left tackle? Or have the Bears completely given up on the 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft, who started nine games at left guard last season? We will have to wait and see what the Bears do next.