Will Kyle Long be switched to left tackle for the 2016 season? Will he remain at right tackle? Or could he move back to his familiar guard position?
Long was selected with the 20th pick in the 2013 NFL draft and became an immediate force at right guard. He earned two Pro Bowl spots there. And yet, his position has been a hot topic since the beginning of last season when the team suddenly moved him from guard to right tackle on the eve of the regular season. Despite struggling at sporadic times throughout the season, Long earned his third Pro Bowl in three seasons.
And yet, his position still might not be fixed.
“The thing about Kyle that we all love is his position flexibility,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace told the media on Wednesday. “We need to make this decision after the player acquisition period is over with, and, as best as we can, try to leave him at a certain spot.”
“I’m confident in Leno and I thought he got better as the season went on,” Pace said. “I do think that Leno is a natural left tackle. That’s his best spot.”
Unless Pace was blowing smoke, it would not make sense to move Leno from his best spot and place Long there, so I’d expect Long to stay put at right tackle or move back inside to guard.
“It’s easy for him to go back to guard,” Pace said of Long. “It would be harder if we put him at guard and then put him back out at tackle. We just gotta go through this player acquisition period and see how the chips fall and then put him in a spot and let him grow there.”
Whatever the Bears decide to do with Long, Pace said he feels confident in the group of guys the Bears have along the offensive line, and that improving the depth is a goal for the offseason.
“We’ve got some flexibility [on the offensive line]. Our goal is to improve that position, but just acquire the best players and let it all sort out and start the best five.”