The five guys on the offensive line for the Chicago Bears will be heavily scrutinized this week.
This Friday the Chicago Bears will play the all important 3rd preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. The 3rd preseason game is often called the dress rehearsal for the regular season because the starters usually play into the third quarter. While head coach Marc Trestman will still keep things fairly vanilla, he'll still want to put his players in a position to be evaluated. And the o-line needs some evaluation.
They were shaky in preseason week one, they made a couple changes, and they improved in week two. Jobs can be won or lost in week three. I'm excited to see the current group grow together.
The hope is another week of action as a unit, will help the cohesiveness of the offensive line. As it looks right now, the only player that was a Bear last season that will be starting, is center Roberto Garza. It's a veteran group on the left side with free agent newcomers Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson at tackle and guard respectively. Then on the right side, it's rookie newcomers Jordan Mills at tackle, and Kyle Long at guard.
Judging by recent comments from the coaches, they were happy with the right side rookies, but consistency will be key. If they don't have a set back in Oakland, I'd expect them both to be week one starters.
Here's what Marc Trestman said about the rooks;
"Just overall there was an upside in assignments, physicality and athleticism," Trestman said. "We're not ready to pass judgment yet overall. We're just going to let this thing play itself out. But to be as straightforward as I can, it was a positive experience for our football team to have them out there."
The first part of the quote speaks volumes about the week one starters James Brown and J'Marcus Webb. Brown will probably make the team as a swing guard, and Webb looks to be in the running as the swing tackle.
I really liked what I've seen from Long so far. He's every bit the athlete as advertised, and his technique looks much improved from his college days. This is a mature player that gets it, and his work ethic will ensure he remains in the mix to start all season.
I saw some good and bad from Mills the last two weeks. He gives good effort, and he seems up to the task of being an NFL player.
Even though Webb had his salary cut, I think he's still in the mix to start on the right side. As the #2, he'll really have to perform well when he has opportunities, but it also wouldn't surprise me to see him cut. The health of tackle Jonathan Scott will have a lot to say about Webb's future.
Slauson and Garza have both been solid thus far. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod was a little dinged up early in camp, and his play last week wasn't as crisp as I would like to see, but I'm not concerned with him.
Back in June, Sam asked how confident fans were with the interior of the o-line, and with the tackles. Low confidence won out by a wide margin at that time for both the interior (67%) and the tackles (69%).
With training camp, and a couple preseason games under their belts, and a projected starting five of Bushrod, Slauson, Garza, Long, and Mills, has your confidence changed?
How confident are you in the Chicago Bears' offensive line?
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- Offensive Observations: Line's Performance a Confidence Booster
- The Bears Den: August 20, 2013 - Preseason news and notes
- Bears to play starters at least 1st half versus Raiders
- There's Nothing Wrong with Throwing to Brandon Marshall
- 2013 Stats over/under: The offensive line
- Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and Beyond
- Bears' restructure of Webb's contract neither confirms nor denies his place on opening day roster
- Defensive Observations: Bears' Ends Take Advantage of Matchup