Tice Likes What He Sees, Progress..............
August 30, 2011
Tice pleased with line's progress
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 8/30/2011 5:30 PM
According to position coach Mike Tice, the Bears offensive line delivered its best performance of the preseason across the board Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans. “It was the first preseason game that I thought all five front guys played well enough for us to have a chance to win the game offensively,” Tice said Tuesday after practice.
Left tackle J'Marcus Webb and the rest of the starting offensive line continues to gel.“We have some things always to clean up. They pressured us in all snaps 48 percent of the time. That’s almost every other snap. So that was good work for us because our identification was very clean throughout the game. Mental errors were at a minimum.”
The starting line—comprised of left tackle J’Marcus Webb, left guard Chris Williams, center Roberto Garza, right guard Lance Louis and right tackle Gabe Carimi—excelled against the Titans, opening holes in the running game and protecting quarterback Jay Cutler. In the first half, running back Matt Forte rushed for 67 yards on 15 carries including a three-yard touchdown and Cutler completed 13 of 20 passes for 170 yards without being sacked.
“It was Gabe’s best technique game,” Tice said. “J’Marcus has had back-to-back solid games. Roberto played well. Chris has been solid all camp. And it was by far Lance’s best game. “What we’re looking for is growth every week. I’m pleased with the progress to this point and I’m glad they pressured us because we needed to see that.”
The biggest change on the line this season has been Garza moving from guard to center following the free-agent departure of Olin Kreutz. Garza, an 11-year veteran, is now responsible for calling line adjustments prior to the snap. “He was right there with Olin last year, so it’s not a problem,” Cutler said. “He’s stepped into that role and I think he’s done a great job for us so far.”
Tice knows that building a successful offensive line is an ongoing process, something that is especially true after the entire offseason program was wiped out by the lockout. “My expectations were for them to get better every day in practice and every week in the games, and they’ve done that to this point,” Tice said.
“We haven’t had many practices where I felt like we took a step backwards. We’ve had a couple where at the end of the day you’re [angry] and say, ‘Damn, we just wasted that day.’ But in the overall scheme of things, I feel like we’ve taken strides every day and that’s been great.
“That’s what you’re looking for because this is a long haul. We’re looking to get better every week and playing our best ball at the end and playing good enough in the opener to win. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to be solid and competitive in the beginning and hopefully really good at the end.”