Nothing that happened in Thursday night’s preseason game was nearly as significant as the news which broke prior to kickoff. Rookie left tackle Chris Williams, who had been out of practice for two weeks with back spasms, underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc.
The magnitude of this injury is enormous. Not only will it leave a gaping hole on the left side of the line, but it will have adverse effects on multiple positions and players.
First and foremost, Williams’ absence — which could be all season, but most of it at least — hinders his progress. He won’t gain valuable experience this season and his learning will be pushed back a year.
Secondly, Matt Forte and the running game will suffer mightily. Williams’ injury will set back Forte’s progress as well.
And finally, with a poor running game seemingly inevitable, you can guarantee that neither quarterback — Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton — will have much success this season, which means the coaching staff and Jerry Angelo will not be able to gauge the progress of either player. That leaves them with the dilemma of whether or not they need to seek other options next off-season.
The Bears have already been seeking alternatives, one of which is to bring back the turnstile tackle, Fred Miller.
“His preference would be to return to the Bears,” Miller’s agent Harold Lewis said Thursday evening.
I’m not completely opposed to this notion even though Miller isn’t very good. He’s a better option than keeping John St. Clair as starting left tackle, and this way, they’ll at least be able to move the chains via the running game.
One has to wonder if Ruben Brown will return as well to fill the void at left guard. If that were to happen, Angelo’s credibility really would be called into question around the league.