Chicago Bears offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb takes a lot of crap from the media and from fans. Some of it he brings on himself, some of it he deserves, and some of it is just a byproduct of past "sins" committed by the leader of JWebb Nation.
This week everything he's getting hit with is well deserved.
After his ten snaps against the Carolina Panthers last Friday night, the Bears coaches evaluated his play, and decided a change was warranted. Enter rookie offensive tackle Jordan Mills, exit J'Marcus Webb. When asked if his demotion to the 2nd team disappointed him, his response was an apathetic, "No, not at all,"
Head coach Marc Trestman said he wasn't trying to send a message to Webb with the demotion, and that's a good thing. Because if he was trying to send a message, Webb may not have been aware enough to catch it.
If they were trying to light a fire under his 6'7" 333 pound ass, it obviously didn't work. Just today his o-line coach Aaron Kromer had this to say, "If he's going to be on the team, if he makes our eight, then he's going to have to play more than one spot."
The reason Webb is so maddening is I've seen him play at a high level. He's inconsistent, but he is capable. I've graded his games in the past here on WCG, and I take an in depth look at the pass protection on a weekly basis in my Sackwatch series, so I've seen his improvement year one, to year two, to year three. There may not be a year four to evaluate if he doesn't figure things out.
It's hard to question someone's effort and dedication from afar, but three years of J'Marcus Webb film, and quotes to the media, and Facebook updates, and tweets, tell me that this kid isn't concerned with being a professional football player.
Immaturity can only be used as an excuse for so long.
I graded his ten plays from the Carolina game and I gave him a +7. That's not as good as it sounds and I'll explain a bit later. I use a simple plus / minus grading system because that was the one I was taught as a player, and it's the one I used as a coach. I'm only concerned with one thing, did a player do his job on a given play.
When looking at the o-line in particular it's not always pretty. Sometimes technique is thrown out the window when fighting with a defensive player. And I say fighting, because that's exactly what goes on in the trenches. If your job is to seal off the backside pursuit, ideally you'd like to move your feet, and keep your butt between the defender and the ball carrier. It doesn't always work out like that. You might have to cut your man, or dive in front and roll him up. Hands, elbows, knees, and feet are used in ways that aren't always technically sound, but if the job is done that will earn a (+) from me.
In regards to Webb's +7, even though he did his job, there wasn't any urgency in his play. He sealed off his guy a few times, but he did it with as little effort as needed. The coaches obviously noticed this. If his game was a 'Bears 101' class he would have received a C-. That's not going to get it done.
The first (-) I gave Webb came on the 3rd play of the game, and a run that appeared designed to go over the right guard. Webb had lazy feet, he was too high, and he allowed his man to come across his face, back inside, to get in on the play. Piss poor effort.
The next minus was the sack, and on the play Webb seemed more concerned with helping James Brown at right guard. He looked inside first, which could have been by design, but based of Carolina's front I doubt it was, and he was late getting to the edge rusher. The Panthers' Charles Johnson is one of the better DEs in the league, with 33 sacks the last three seasons, and Webb didn't seem overly concerned with stopping him.
Webb's final minus was on a screen pass that the Panthers sniffed out. It wasn't necessarily his fault the play failed, but he really didn't do anything. He kind of stood up, looked around, and didn't block anyone. I'm not sure if he was confused on who to block, but he sure as heck didn't appear to give any effort whatsoever.
Webb deserved to be benched after that game.
When asked about the potential of two rookies -- Jordan Mills and Kyle Long -- starting on the right side of his offensive line, Jay Cutler may have taken a backhanded shot at Webb. "They want to be in there, they want to do a good job and that's the most important thing.", he added, "If you got a guy that wants to do it, he'll figure out a way."
Is Cutler implying that Webb doesn't want it? Judging by Webb's comments about the benching it would appear so.
Jay Cutler infamously gave Webb a shove last season, and he was drug over the coals for it. Was it wrong to do? Yeah, but it did seem to spark Webb's play a bit after that. Maybe the non message from Trestman, the direct message from Kromer, and the comments from Cutler, will be enough to kick his ass in gear. Then again maybe Webb is more interested in being a social media celebrity, than being a professional football player.
Now after dropping all that negativity about Webb, you probably expect me to call for his outright release. Regardless of my personal feelings on the player, I think he'll get it somewhat together, and end up starting at right tackle for the season opener. Jordan Mills doesn't seem ready, Eben Britton looks more like a jack of all trades back up, and Jonathan Scott hasn't been playing.
If J'Marcus Webb doesn't get it together this season, in his contract year, then he probably never will. Money is a heck of a motivator, but you have to want to be motivated.
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