It’s a common fact for all levels of football: It all starts up front for the offense. A team can’t sustain a running game without a good offensive line, and it can’t pass the ball without the defense respecting the run.
What was already a concern heading into training camp has ballooned into an all-out crisis as the Bears try to figure out what to do with the left side of their offensive line.
They can’t run the ball 20 times a game behind the trio of Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, and John Tait on the right side of the line. And whoever’s taking snaps from center can’t be making 3-step drops on every passing down.
Rookie left tackle Chris Williams is out until Nov. 2, at the earliest. It’s not likely a rookie would be ready to step in and play right away, either. And considering the Bears — whether they publicly admit it or not — are in rebuilding mode, they just may elect to shelve Williams for the entire season.
The current situation has John St. Clair filling in at left tackle, but he was just supposed to be a temporary replacement who would move back to left guard when Williams was ready to play. Now that he’s playing tackle for the long haul — this could change, obviously — the guard position seems even weaker.
A move that the Bears were hoping to avoid — moving Tait back to left tackle — seems like the most logical choice at this juncture. Fred Miller has been rumored to be considering a return to the Bears, but Jerry Angelo has declined comment on such a decision. And while the Bears would never consider bringing back Ruben Brown — I think… sometimes it’s hard to predict what’s going on in Angelo’s mind — sadly, he’d be an upgrade at left guard.
As bad as it sounds, this year’s offensive line is in worse condition than it was last year.