In this ongoing series, I'll look at which Bears I think will need to contribute the most in 2009 for them to have a successful season. Some things I thought about when compiling this list were: what potential impact they may have, how much the team will look to the individual for guidance or leadership, how badly the team would suffer if they lost the player to injury, and other intangible attributes. Hopefully this series will spark some good off-season Bears discussion!
Orlando Pace - Left Tackle
I know, I know, why not Chris Williams? He's more of an unknown after all? If Williams were at the left tackle position, and had the job of protecting Jay Cutler's blind side, he may have received a place on this list. But, as it stands right now, Orlando Pace has that job. There's a reason left tackles (on average) are the highest paid members of the offensive line, and there's a reason left tackles are drafted before their line mates. Any successful passing game needs a rock at left tackle.
Another factor in my placing Pace at #4 is if he goes down or ends up not being the future Hall Of Fame Orlando Pace we all expect him to be, it will cause an O-Line chain reaction. If Pace goes down Chris Williams will be shifted over to the left side, which then will cause Kevin Shaffer to line up at RT, that is unless the Bears coaches feel moving Frank Omiyale from LG to RT and putting Josh Beekman in at LG would be the best combination for the line. While I do have confidence in all these guys, it's the continuity of them playing together that worries me.
The Best offensive lines are the ones that can play together for a while. The more stability you have with the guys up front the more they seem to know what he other guy will do in any situation. If Pace can stay healthy (he only missed 2 games last year and claims to feel better than he has in the last several years) the Bears O-Line could do some very special things.
The List so far:
#4 - Orlando Pace - Left Tackle
If you missed any of the list so far just click on the link.