The fine people at Reebok have given me the opportunity to have a few moments of Bears lineman Roberto Garza's time. He is helping them with the release of their new shoe line, Hex Ride .
The HexRide is a new cushioning technology that Reebok has just launched. It’s what you see on the bottom of the shoe- a honeycomb pattern of air bubbles.
Each bubble in HexRide is a responsive air spring that is soft when you walk and firmer when you run. It's lightweight because Reebok replaced foam with weightless bubbles.
All the NFL players will be wearing the shoes during training camp.
On to the interview. This was by phone, so the I couldn't get the answers word for word, but I will get the point across.
1) Last year the offensive line took a hit and a lot of blame for the problems that plagued the offense fell on them. Do you feel more confident going into this season that the offensive line can return to form and be the anchor this team needs?
We absolutely can. The main thing we need to do is refocus and reestablish the run game. Last year we had some injuries and guys had to step in. This year we have John Tait moving to right tackle and Chris Williams possibly stepping in.
2) The biggest move the Bears have made this off season is drafting Chris Williams out of Vanderbilt. What must he do to come in and be ready for opening day?
As with any rookie, he just needs to get in and practice hard. He is working a lot with our strength coach to get ready for the rigors of a 16 game season. He needs to put in as much work as he can on this technique and get a good grasp on the offense. He will get used to the speed of the game as time goes on and he will start watching game film of the defensive ends he is going to see.
3) How much individual time would a vet on the line spend working with a rookie or is that left to the coaching staff?
Well, he will spend a lot of time with the other guys on the line and will learn just being next to them. He will pick up the tricks of the trade. He will watch a lot of film and has to really be patient, but it will come. As far as guys on the line, all he has to do is ask.
4) Assuming that Williams is able start at left tackle and John Tait is moved back to right, what is the hardest part about working in a line where there are new players and you have guys next to you who weren't the year before?
You get used to everybody just by being there. We have until Sept 7, we will be ready. Over time you get accustomed to what each guy thinking and you get used to the calls and recognizing defenses.
5) Over the last few years the Bears have started a number of different QBs and RBs, how does this affect the offensive line and how they prepare? Are different protections and blocking schemes setup for different players?
Not really. It still is the same offense. You do have to get used to different snap counts and having a different voice in the huddle and calling plays. We have two guys who are very familiar with the offense and they have a tough competition ahead of them.
6) What does it mean to an offensive line to have a guy like Olin Kruetz in the middle?
It is very important to have a guy like him in there. He is very tough and extremely smart. As a player you learn a lot just in the way he prepares for a game. He is one of the hardest workers on and off the field.
7) Who is the toughest guy you have ever had to line up against?
The two that come to mind are in Minnesota. Both the Williams, Pat and Kevin. Both of them are tough and really good at stuffing the run.
There it is. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to Reebok and Roberto Graza for the time.