On this Thanksgiving, it’s possible Jay Cutler might be a little thankful for some changes on the Bears’ offensive line. The dominoes started to fall on Wednesday as Chilo Rachal walked out on the team, quitting after he was demoted in favor of Chris Spencer at left guard. On Thursday, right tackle Gabe Carimi was benched for journeyman tackle Jonathan Scott. Changing 40% of your offensive line is no small endeavor, but after the pitiful performance last Monday in the Bears’ 32-7 loss to San Francisco.
On Wednesday, news broke that Chilo Rachal had essentially walked out on the team. He had a rough game against his former team, as the Niners stated they were able to “get into his head” and throw him off his game. When he was informed that he was going to be benched, he ‘became extremely upset” and just walked out.
He returned to Halas Hall on Thursday to apologize about his temper tantrum, but it was too late; the Bears put him on the reserve/left team list, ending his season and most likely his days with the Bears. Taking his place on the 53-man roster, James Brown was called up from the practice squad.
The bigger concern is Carimi, the last first round pick of the Jerry Angelo era. While a lot of early season attention was paid to J’Marcus Webb’s struggles at the left tackle, Carimi’s rock bottom came on Monday night, when he was repeatedly beaten and bullrushed, giving up 3 sacks.
Mike Tice has tried to defend him and stick up for him, but Thursday he had to pull the trigger and bench Carimi in favor of journeyman Jonathan Scott. Carimi was not happy, but seemed resigned to the demotion:
“I am just inconsistent right now,” Carimi said. “Be it the knee or be it aggression, who knows what it is sometimes? … I am just going to keep on focusing and working hard. I will be back out there eventually.”
I’m not ready to give up on Carimi just yet. He suffered a serious knee injury in his second game last season. Recovery from the injury derailed most of his offseason program, so he hasn’t really had an offseason and is essentially in his rookie season. Give him a full healthy offseason to work on his technique and get stronger and he might have a chance to rebound.
There’s not much time for the new group to get it together. The freshly shuffled line will have their hands full with the Minnesota Vikings and Jared Allen on Sunday. As the rest of you, I’ll be interested to see if they’re up to the task.