The Offensive Line went through a roller coaster ride last season. It all started in training camp where the talent on the depth chart was so bad that it took Mike Tice deep into August to figure out a line combination. He settled on a line-up with Chris Williams at LT, Roberto Garza at LG, Olin Kreutz at C, Lance Louis at RG, and Frank Omiyale at RT. Five different combinations later, Tice found a group he was comfortable with, with Omiyale at LT, Williams at LG, Kreutz at C, Garza at RG, and the 7th round rookie J'Marcus Webb at RT. Going into this season, Mike Tice doesn't want to wait until the last minute to settle on a group. What will help him not do this a 2nd time around is G.M. Jerry Angelo going out in Free Agency and capitalizing on his 1st round pick this year OT Gabe Carimi, who will most likely get the first crack at LT. Another thing that will help him is a couple young players making improvements their 2nd season in the system.
One of those players being RT J'Marcus Webb, who with Gabe Carimi the Bears are counting on to be the bookend tackles for the next 8 to 10 years. For right now, Webb is in today's Player Spotlight.
Who is J'Marcus Webb?
The 6-8 335 pound Tackle has a lot of upside mainly because of his measurable.
College Transaction courtesy of chicagobears.com
Spent time at West Texas A&M (2008-09), Navarro (Texas) College (2007) and the University of Texas (2006)... Started 24-of-25 games played on the offensive line at West Texas A&M.
SENIOR: Started 11-of-12 games for West Texas A&M, helping anchor the offensive line... Named first-team all-Lone Star South Division.
JUNIOR: Started all 13 games at LT for the Buffs... Part of offensive line that allowed just 19 sacks over the course of the entire season, while helping put up a school-record 7,079 yards of offense.
SOPHOMORE: Named first-team NJCAA All-America honors while at Navarro College... Also earned all-Southwest Junior College Football Conference first team accolades.
FRESHMAN: Saw action in 12 games at tackle for Texas as the Longhorns went 10-3 on their way to an Alamo Bowl berth
Knowing how raw Webb was at the next level, Tice wasn't planning on playing Webb at all his first season, but a combination of injuries and bad play by the veterans in front of him forced Tice to play him early. Webb got a lot of mixed reviews for his play in 2010. Most felt he was terrible and one of, if not the worst, lineman on the team. Others were more understanding seeing that he was 7th round rookie thrust into the starting line-up, and can vouch that he showed flashes of his potential each week.
Webb will most likely open up the season as a starter at one of the tackle positions. My opinion is because of the lockout he will most likely stay at RT for the fact that Carimi has more experience playing LT against top competition. One thing Bears don't have to worry about is Webb being one of these players showing up to training camp out of shape, as he tweeted to me weeks ago that he's constantly working out during this lockout and staying in shape. Webb physically staying in shape is nice, but the main thing I want to see improvement on is his instincts and technique, and that's where the lockout is having an effect as Webb can't get that one on one teaching from Mike Tice that he needs. On the other hand, with the playing time that he saw in his 1st year might pay off in his 2nd season. Training camp might be just enough for him to improve significantly for the 2011-12 regular season. I expect to still see some mistakes during the season, but not as much as we saw in his rookie season. I expect Webb to establish himself as a solid starting RT in his 2nd year.