Matt Slauson Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series continues with a profile of veteran left guard, #68 Matt Slauson. We’re 68 days away from kicking off against the Packers on September 13th, fellow Bear fans. Or if that seems like a long time away, look at it instead from a different perspective and consider that it has been 191 days since the Bears last played on December 28th, 2014. With that outlook it’s easier to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is steadily coming into view.
With a 6th round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected offensive lineman Matt Slauson out of Nebraska. The connection for the Jets was that Bill Callahan, offensive line coach at that time for New York, was Slauson’s head coach with the Cornhuskers for 3 of his 4 years on campus (Freshman thru Junior year). In 2010 many Bears fans may have gotten their first glimpse of Slauson on HBO’s Hard Knocks as he battled then-rookie lineman Vladimir Ducasse (now a Bear!) for a starting gig that Slauson eventually won.
Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears guard Matt Slauson (68) blocks Detroit Lions defensive tackleNick Fairley
(98) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
From 2010-2012, Slauson started every game at LG for the New York Jets but per profootballfocus.com was only the 31st-rated guard in 2012. The Jets let him walk and Slauson signed a 1-year deal with the Bears who wanted to see what he could do before committing long-term. In 2013 the Bears offense flourished under 1st-year HC Marc Trestman and Slauson excelled in the pass-heavy system, grading out highly when compared to any other guards in the league. The proof of what he could do was now on tape and the Bears quickly signed him to a 4-year deal after the season was over.
2014 didn’t go quite as planned for Slauson and after a dreaded high-ankle sprain caused him to miss 3 games early in the year, things took a turn for the worse in week #8 against the Patriots when he tore a pectoral muscle and missed the rest of the season. After showcasing his durability by starting all 16 games 4 seasons in a row, including every week for the Bears in 2013, Slauson was only able to stay healthy enough to start 5 for the Bears in 2014.
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What to expect from Matt Slauson in 2015:
Slauson has been a solid starter all of his career so there is every reason to believe that a bounce-back year is in the offing after recuperating from the pectoral injury suffered back in October of last year. He has a clean bill of health now and word out of OTAs and Mini-camps was that Slauson was emerging as more of a vocal leader, a trait he’ll need to display often if the Bears go with my suggested plan of starting Hroniss Grasu (among other moves). Whatever shuffling happens around him on the line, Slauson will be at LG if healthy and will be expected to contribute at a high level. A high-level beard, meanwhile, is a given.
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