Despite success, Bears offensive line remains unsettled
Team rushes for 218 yards, most since 1990
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — J'Marcus Webb and Edwin Williams can say that in their first starts as Bears they were part of the biggest rushing effort since Mike Ditka patrolled the sidelines for the franchise.
But nothing is too settled along the offensive line and that could be how things are for the foreseeable future as the Bears look for the right fit. Webb, a seventh-round pick from West Texas A&M, filled in for Kevin Shaffer at right tackle, and Williams, a pickup off the waiver wire, replaced Lance Louis at right guard.
The returns were positive. A week after Bears quarterbacks were sacked a franchise-record 10 times, they were taken down on just three occasions in a 23-6 win over the Panthers. Meanwhile, the offense rushed for 218 yards, the Bears' most since a 223-yard effort vs. the Phoenix Cardinals on Oct. 28, 1990.
"That was a big statement part of the game," center Olin Kreutz said. "It is what we wanted to do, the power of the O-line bouncing back after taking all that (criticism) last week."
Webb said it was more settling being able to start a game. Williams felt he played better as the game went along.
"My initial objective was just no stupid mental mistakes, no penalties, and that is what I wanted to accomplish first," Williams said. "As I get more comfortable I think I can be a lot more aggressive."
What the Bears do moving forward will be interesting. Left tackle Chris Williams missed his third straight game with a pulled right hamstring. He could return to practice this week.
"We are going to still play musical chairs for probably another few weeks until we get Chris back and find out more about some of our younger players," general manager Jerry Angelo said in the pregame show on WBBM-AM 780. "The good news is we like the players. It is just a matter now of getting the same five on the field."
The first question when Chris Williams returns is what happens to Frank Omiyale? He's been playing left tackle and the team will have to choose between him and Webb at right tackle. Omiyale had a holding penalty and a false start. Webb had a false start.
It will be interesting. Offensive line coach Mike Tice has said he'd like his group settled by the open date. He has two more games to find the right mix.