Shufflin’ Bears O-line: Garza Out, Williams In at Left Guard


It was back to work for the Bears and one Bear in particular who has been out since a hamstring injury since Week 2 in Dallas.  Chris Williams returned to practice on Wednesday, but not at his customary left tackle spot.  Instead, he took one step inside, moving over to the left guard spot.  Where’s Roberto Garza, you ask?  He will be out for a little while as he recovers from getting his knee scoped.

It’s an interesting move, especially with your supposed left tackle of the future.  It goes to show that this coaching staff has thrown out all pre-conceived notions, draft status and big money contracts aside and focused on getting the five best linemen on the field.  So why put Williams at left guard?  Let’s explore the move after the jump.

I don’t think this is a demotion of Williams as much as it is trying to build on some of the success from last week.  The combination of Edwin Williams and J’Marcus Webb seemed to work on the right side.  They’re both bigger bodies that can move some people around, so expect them to get rewarded for a solid effort with another start and a chance to lock down that right side of the line.

We already got a good glimpse of Frank Omiyale at guard.  When the Bears signed him as a free agent last offseason, the thought was they could move him inside to guard.  It didn’t work.  Not at all.  He struggled and along with a semi-comatose Orlando Pace, became a scapegoat for the Bears’ bad offensive line play.  No need to move Omiyale to guard because we know how that movie ends.

Furthermore, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) Omiyale has actually held his own at left tackle in Williams’ absence.  It was his move to LT along with Kevin Shaffer going in at right tackle that helped salvage the Cowboys game when it started so poorly.  Omiyale is more comfortable on the left side of the line and has the wingspan to play tackle.  Is he the long-term solution there?  I hope not but in this cut-and-paste, makeshift offensive line, he might be the next best alternative and the net effect of Omiyale at tackle and Williams at guard could be better than anything else the Bears have to put out there.

I wonder what happens when Roberto Garza comes back from his knee cleanup?  Hopefully by the time he’s back, everyone has settled into their new roles and they’ve started to gel.


Through the month of October, my usual BEAR DOWN signoff will be in pink to raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.