Kyle Long was a two-time Pro Bowl player while lining up at right guard for the Bears. But when ownership made a coaching change this offseason, Long slid over to play right tackle to fill a badly needed position upgrade.
Apparently, Long might not be settled in just yet.
“We’re going to keep him where he’s at and once we finish this year out, we’ll go back and re-evaluate and see what happens after that,” Gase said Thursday.
The transition for Long from right guard to right tackle certainly hasn’t been seamless. Long struggled early in the season against some pretty good pass rushers and has had sporadic moments of breakdown since then. But overall, he’s been a solid building block to a young offensive line.
To Long’s credit, he handled the position switch like a pro. “It’s not like I came out and I was begging to play the position,” he told reporters. “They told me my job, and I’m trying to do my job to the best of my ability.”
That kind of willingness to take one for the team might serve him well if they are considering switching Long once more.
There are two schools of thought on this. The first is that the Bears can move Long back to right guard where he was one of the best players at his position in the NFL.
But the Bears were right in thinking that it’d be easier to find a replacement at guard then it would be to get a tackle of Long’s caliber.
The second thought that might be considered is flipping Long to the opposite side to play left tackle. The position is widely considered to be the most important on the offensive line, for it protects the quarterback’s blind side, typically against the opponent’s best pass rusher.
“It’s been a learning process,” Long added. “I’ve had a lot of growth as a person and a player.”
That learning process just might get a bit more complicated next season.