What's next? (good read)
LINK to the article By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter8:34 p.m. CST, November 22, 2012
Five weeks after the Bears released Chris Williams they have demoted the last remaining first-round draft pick of the Jerry Angelo era.
Right tackle Gabe Carimi has been benched in favor of journeyman Jonathan Scott, who was signed Sept. 10.
This brings the team's offensive line to a new level of dysfunction, coming one day after Chris Spencer was elevated at left guard for Sunday's game with the Vikings at Soldier Field. That move prompted Chilo Rachal, who started the last eight games, to leave the team Wednesday.
Rachal returned on Thursday morning to apologize for his abrupt departure but was shifted from the reserve/left team list to the reserve/non-football injury list after practice. That ends Rachal's season and hints at possible personal issues as he was not listed on Wednesday's injury report.
Before that decision was made, coach Lovie Smith did not rule out Rachal's return in 2012. But it's difficult for a team ever to welcome back a player who walks out.
"It's another thing we deal with," Smith said.
More problematic has been the poor play of Carimi, who worked hard to return from surgery on his right knee in December after missing nearly all of the offseason program. He was exposed badly in Monday's 32-7 road loss to the 49ers and while the Bears cannot be ready to give up on Carimi, they need him to be more consistent before he plays again.
Smith declined to address the change, saying "What move?"
Carimi called it "obviously upsetting" but added "I have a positive attitude about this. I'll come back from this. I know it."
It has been a tough road for Carimi, who suffered a dislocated right kneecap in Week 2 last season. Surgery performed at the end of the year was designed to prevent a recurrence of an injury he first suffered at Wisconsin. That injury is why Angelo admitted the Bears had a yellow flag on Carimi, the 29th overall pick in 2011, for medical reasons.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice was evasive when asked if the knee has prevented Carimi from returning to form because at the time of the injury he called the rookie the team's best lineman. Carimi has made 12 career starts. The Bears gave up on Williams, another first-round pick, after only 38 starts.
"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."
Speculation had been that left tackle J'Marcus Webb could be benched but he has been playing better than Carimi and Scott primarily is considered a right tackle. Scott has 28 career starts at offensive tackle, 14 over the previous two seasons for the Steelers. The Bears cut Williams loose when they were confident Scott had learned the offense.
"Just getting in the flow of things," Scott said after practice. "Getting the mesh with the other guys. We're five interchangeable parts working as one so I just have to be on their page. I'm excited."
James Brown, an undrafted rookie from Troy on the practice squad, took Rachal's roster spot. Tice is "very high" on Brown but said turning to him to start now would be "desperation." Brown had a mid-round grade with many clubs but was not selected because of off-field issues.
"The offensive line is excited about playing again," Smith said. "Whenever you play (poorly) the way we did, you want to get back on the field and play another game. That's where we are."
Turning to Brown would be "desperation" huh? The line is already desperate, terrible is terrible, at least it would be a different kind of terrible. Get over yourself Tice.
I say: GIVE BROWN A CHANCE. He can't do worse than Webb. Yep, start the UDFA against the Vikings at LT