Bears Pre-Camp Check; OG and OC

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Chicago Bears

    Pre-camp check: Centers and guards

    June, 26, 2014
    Jun 26
    9:00
    AM ET
    By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com

    Overview: Keeping the interior of the pocket clean allows the quarterback to step up and follow through on throws, and in 2013 the trio of starters Roberto Garza, Kyle Long and Matt Slauson certainly allowed the Chicago Bears' signal callers to do that with relative ease.

    "We want the protection system to start from the inside out," offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said.

    It's probably safe to say the interior of Chicago's offensive line is its strength, and should only improve with the team bringing back all the starters while ramping up the competition at some of the backup spots.

    "It's exciting," Slauson said. "This is the first time in my career where all five guys have stayed the same. Hopefully we can build off all the progress we made last year."

    Battle to watch: This isn't expected to materialize into a full-blown battle, but surely all eyes will be on the play of Garza and Brian De La Puente at the center position. Garza has started every game the last three seasons at center, and in 2013 put together arguably his best campaign since taking over for Olin Kreutz at the position. Although Garza hasn't shown any signs of a drop off, his age (35), and the fact the Bears brought on De La Puente -- who also has familiarity with Kromer -- as the potential heir apparent at the position will lead to speculation the team might be looking to replace the team captain. The potential speculation should lead to intense competition at training camp between Garza and De La Puente, who has also spent time during the offseason at guard. Garza's spot likely isn't in jeopardy, and the truth is some of the battles for the backup roles might wind up being more compelling.

    Dark horse: The Bears put together such strong depth at the interior positions there probably won't be a dark horse to make the team at center or guard, and certainly no player on the roster will push either Slauson or Long for their starting jobs.

    Who makes the cut: The Bears entered the 2013 regular-season finale with 10 total offensive linemen on the active roster and six of those players including Taylor Boggs, Eben Britton, James Brown, Garza, Long and Slauson can play interior positions. Well, every one of those players is back for 2014, in addition to De La Puente. De La Puente will make the team, which means one of the other players won't make the cut. There's a good chance that player winds up being Brown.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I think he's ignoring quite a few guys who were on the PS and some of the rookies and UFAs we brought in this year so overall I'd say this is a crappy analysis of the whole picture.

    Undoubtedly as long as the starting five from last year are healthy they'll be the starters again this year. I really don't see any serious challenges for a starting spot developing unless it would be at RT and despite the knocks against him I though for a rookie 5th round pick Jordan Mills did OK and can only get better.

    As far as the backups go the only two I feel 100% about are Britton and de la Puente so that means there's at least two and possibly three slots left to fill and about 7 or 8 guys vying for them. If I had to take a wild guess based on who got longer looks in the OTAs and mini camp I'd say the the CFL guy, Ola and the rookie, Leno may have an edge right now but without any real contact it's probably a slim one.
  3. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

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    The starting five, Britton, DLP, Leno, and then maybe one of the others. Chances are they go with just those eight and put Groy on the PS.

    It's very nice to finally not be howling about how bad the oline is year in and year out.
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  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    It is nice isn't it? They aren't All Pros across the board but that's less important than them just getting in sync and protecting Cutler. With the receivers we have I can see us passing more than running but they need to do a little work on improving their run blocking this year. It was spotty at times last season yet still better than most anything else we've seen for the last decade or so.
  5. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

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    We don't call it "getting in sync" here, buddy.

    They have gelled.
  6. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Well OK but Kyle Long is gonna have a hard time gelling cause he's got nothing on his head to hold the gel. :rofl2: But it I don't like using a term like in sync either. Reminds me of that lame ass "boy band". :puke:
  7. Papa_Bear_7

    Papa_Bear_7 Veteran

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    Synergy
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  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    There ya' go. Good compromise PB.

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