Apparently the coaching staff has enough faith in their younger linemen that Roberto Garza will not be handed a starting job like Olin Kreutz and Chris Williams. Garza, who has been a model of consistency though not spectacular during his time with the Bears, will have to fight off competition with youngsters Lance Louis, Johan Asiata, and Josh Beekman.
Louis was recently inserted as the first team right guard — Garza’s traditional position — for the past few practices, pushing Garza over to left guard. The Bears like Louis’ size and athleticism as he started his college career as a tight end. The one area on which offensive line coach Mike Tice has been working with Louis has been his footwork. That’s an understandable weakness for a young player without much experience on the line.
If Louis continues to improve and show he can handle the job during preseason games, that means Garza could be thrown into the fray with Asiata and Beekman to compete for the starting job at left guard. It’s Garza’s job to lose as of right now but Tice has been high on Asiata since the offseason.
The Bears will continue to shuffle players around on the line to try to put the best combination on the field for the season opener, but the coaching staff says it expects the line to take shape in the near future. The Bears should get a good look at a few different combinations in Saturday’s preseason opener in San Diego.