Jul 26, 2012; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears players walk to the practice field during the opening day of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
This is the big battle of camp, or more specifically left tackle is the big battle of camp and it's being fought by a former 1st rounder in Chris Williams and a former 7th rounder in J'Marcus Webb. We've discussed the battle in length on these threads, and it even seemed like the battle was all but over, but then Denver happened. Webb was stunningly mediocre in the preseason opener and Williams was seen taking left tackle reps at practice. Mike Tice has made it very clear the competition is back on. Saturday night can't get here soon enough.
The Bears hope to find a worthy group among the thirteen o-line bodies they have in camp. The Bears will most likely carry 9 offensive lineman on the final 53 man roster, and it's probably safe to assume center Roberto Garza and right tackle Gabe Carimi are locks to stick around.
I'll wager to guess that guards Lance Louis, Chilo Rachal and center/guards Edwin Williams and Chris Spencer are also fairly safe. All these guys are veterans and can play multiple positions on the interior, that alone brings some value to the Bears.
Which takes us back to Webb and Williams. The perception is that the winner of their battle will be the starter and the loser will be the primary swing tackle. This is the most likely scenario, as there aren't any other veteran tackle options on the roster. So by adding these 2 to the 'sure things' that brings the total to eight, and there are 5 guys looking for practice and preseason game reps to prove they belong.
Guard Ricky Henry started last year on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster so he may believe he has a leg up on the competition, but he'll battle it out with undrafted free agent and fellow guard Nick Pieschel. Henry (6'4" 310) played at Nebraska and he had 28 straight starts to end his college career. Pieschel (6'6" 309) played tackle at Central Florida so he may be the more versatile of the two.
But both may have their chance threatened by an undrafted free agent that started camp at guard, but has since started receiving some LT reps. After slipping through the draft unselected, James Brown was a hot commodity. He no doubt chose the Bears because he thought he'd have a good shot sicking on their roster. He may end up being right. Brown has been turning heads at practice, and if he proves to be versatile enough to play both guard and tackle, he could lock himself into the 9th spot.
The remaining 2 o-linemen, tackles A.J. Greene and Cory Brandon, will both be looking to stick on the practice squad. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Bears scour the waiver wire looking for late veteran cuts to improve the team.
The offensive side of the ball is in the books for the Position Battle series, to catch up on any you may have missed just peruse the Roster Analysis section of WCG.