Last time out we dissected the Bears center position, so we'll stay with the interior of their line and get into the guards this time. The Bears guards saw a lot turnover in 2012 with 5 different players taking some reps at the two guard positions. We already lumped Chris Spencer into the look at center (click the link above for that), and Frank Omiyale will get his spotlight when the Bears tackles are covered. Spencer actually had the most snaps at the position on the roster with 927 and Omiyale lined up for only 4. Our friends at Pro Football Focus are allowing us to utilize their Premium Content for this series so we hope you enjoy...
Chris Williams - Signed through 2012 - The coaches were pleased with Chris' play at left guard in 2011 and in my viewing of the games I thought he played OK as well. In 2010 he had some leverage and technique issues that hurt his overall play at guard, and he seemed to clean those up this last season. If healthy he'll go into camp as the starting LG.
PFF wasn't very kind with their assessment of his play. His -9.6 grade had him down at 53 with his -9.2 grade as a run blocker really hurting him. Williams isn't a mauling blocker, so grading him could get tricky. He's a technique player that relies more on his quickness to seal of a defender rather than blowing a defender off the ball. In his 9 games he gave up 12 QB pressures, 2 QB hits, and a sack.
Edwin Williams - Signed through 2013 - I thought Edwin played pretty good in 2011. He's definitely a favorite of a lot of Bears fans based on his PFF grades from 2010 and this year. In 2010 he had a +4.5 in his limited action, and I don't think he played up to that grade. I saw a few mental errors where in my opinion he either went the wrong way or blocked the wrong guy on some plays. Last season I disagreed with his grade, but this year I can't. He probably was the Bears best guard, and his PFF grade of a +0.5 shows that. He saw action at both guard spots and PFF had him at #29. I would have no problem if he ended up starting at one of the 3 interior line spots for Chicago.
Lance Louis - Signed through 2012 - I realize that Louis took the majority of his reps at right tackle (713 to 102), but he only filled in there because of Gate 68's continued suckiness. Louis will get a shot at one of the guard spots in camp and his ability to fill in at tackle will ensure his roster spot for 2012.
As a guard Louis had a -2.1 grade and as a tackle he was -35.6. Where do you think he belongs? He started the year blocking in the run game good enough with only 1 negatively graded game in his first 10 and 9 neutral grades. But he was in the negative for his last 4 games. Overall he went 4 negative and 4 neutral graded games starting off the season, but finished with 6 straight in the negative. It seemed as though his technique got sloppier as the year went on, it could have been a mental think that just snowballed on him. I'd like to see him lock in at guard, and only play tackle if the Bears are in a pinch. He gave up 8 sacks from RT.
Ricky Henry - Terms undisclosed - Henry will be a camp body next season, and hopefully the rookie Nebraska product will surprise.
Mansfield Wrotto - Terms undisclosed - Best name on the roster. Wrotto is a 5 year pro that may stick around through camp.
2012 OUTLOOK - Free agent to be Carl Nicks was the 2nd graded (+28.4) guard in football according to PFF. I just don't see the Saints letting him get away. PFF's top guard is the Eagles Evan Mathis, but I don't think he'll get away from Philly. I don't see the Bears addressing guard through a big free agent splash. They may bring in an unheralded guy or two just for competition, but I'd actually be OK if they stuck with their current group.
I believe you can never have too many talented offensive lineman on the roster, so I'd be fine if they drafted one at some point.
Next time out we'll finish up the o-line with a lokt at the tackles.