In the next installment of Windy City Gridiron's 2000's All-Decade Team, I will break down the Guards. Guard is definitely one of the unsung positions on any NFL team. Only recently have names like Faneca & Hutchinson been labeled superstars from the Guard position. In the past decade, the Bears have had some very solid players at the left and right guard positions. The need for a good player at guard was definitely highlighted by the very poor play of Frank Omiyale in the first half of this past season. Here is WCG's list of All-Decade Guards:
1. Ruben Brown
Ruben Brown played 13 seasons in the NFL, all at Left Guard. He made the Pro-Bowl 9 times. 8 of those Pro-Bowl seasons were with Buffalo; however, in 2006, while helping lead the Bears to the Super Bowl and 1918 yards rushing, Ruben made his 9th and final Pro-Bowl. Ruben played 4 seasons with the Bears from 2004-2007. He made 45 starts in that time.
Garza has been a solid contributor for the Bears for the past 5 seasons, 1 at left guard & the past 4 at right guard. After 4 seasons with Atlanta, the Bears signed Garza to a 1 year deal which eventually turned into a 6 year extension the next season. He has started 71 of 80 games as a Chicago Bear. In fact, he was on the field for 1,035 of all 1,035 offensive snaps last year, and all 1,038 snaps in 2008. He was also on the cover of the Spanish version of Madden 09 En Español. He also has this little medical oddity, no ACL ligament in one of his knees:
Garza tore the ACL in the knee late in the 2003 season, had it repaired and was ready to play in 2004.
Only problem was, when the results came back [from an MRI] there was nothing where the new ligament should have been. It had disappeared, unbeknownst to anyone, including Garza, who played the entire 2004 season - 18 games in all - without a brace and without pain.
Villarrial played 8 seasons in Chicago from 1996 thru 2003. He was drafted in the 5th round. In his time with Chicago, in the 2000's, he started 60 of 64 games mostly at right guard.
4. Rex Tucker
A 3rd round pick by the Bears in the 1999 draft, Rex played 5 seasons with the Bears at both left and right guard. In the 2000's, Rex started 26 games, including all 16 in their 2001 playoff season. Interesting note on Rex; he has two sons named Titan & Talen.
Interesting note on the Bears' guards. Villarrial & Tucker were both mid-round draft picks by the Bears. Garza and Brown were both free agent acquisitions, by Jerry Angelo to boot. Can JA acquire another? Will we draft a guard? We'll see soon enough.
Other entries in the All Decade Team - 2000's
Quarterbacks: Rex, Kyle, Miller
Running Backs: Jones, A-Train, Forte
Wide Receivers: Booker, Moose, Berrian