As we head into probably our most competitive preseason game against the Giants, who I think had a few sacks against us last year, lets look at our offensive lineman and decide which holds the key to our success this year. Pay the troll toll and enter.
Obviously there's a perception out there that our offensive line is well, offensive, and the weak point of our team. The group collectively holds the key to our success since our defense is still solid, and our position players on offense are a deep group at both wideout and running back. So the question is: which offensive lineman is most needed to play at their highest level? If the rest are adequate to subpar, which guy playing at his best is going to help our offense be successful? Our candidates:
J'Marcus Webb- Currently slated as the starting left tackle, he was abused by Merriman last week for two sacks and admitted he didn't match Merriman's intensity (apparently Webb thought preseason was like a friendly game of flag football). If there's some line changes, he could end up as the right tackle, but at LT he'll be going against most teams' best defensive pass rusher.
Chris Williams - Our starting left guard (I originally put a "t" at the end of Chris cus thats what I yell when I see him "block") holds a tenuous grip on his starting spot, but if he proves to be not up to the challenge, things get weird on the line with up to three possible starting positions changing. A former first-round tackle of the future, Williams may be looking at his last chance to prove he can start for a Mike Tice line.
Roberto Garza - Our incumbent starting center/returning starting guard needs to play at a high level at two positions in part because of the questions surrounding the next two guys on the list. Arguably the most consistent player we have on the line, he has the toughest job by replacing Olin Kreutz and becoming the defacto leader of a young line.
Chris Spencer - A free agent pickup from Seattle with great starting experience but questionable starting ability. He was replaced in Seattle by Max Unger, a younger and nastier lineman, but if gets up to speed on the offense quickly, we could see him supplant Garza at the starting center spot and allow Garza to slide to either guard position.
Lance Louis- Our current starting right guard. One of the young guys Angelo is referencing when talking about "letting the young guys play" and one of his reasons for not pursuing a starting caliber guard in free agency. Louis started for part of last season before being benched, and could be replaced by Garza if Spencer takes over the center position.
Gabe Carimi - Our starting right tackle is what Chris
t Williams was supposed to be: the present and future stud of our offensive line. A left tackle at Wisconsin, he was projected more as a right tackle prospect, and is coming off of a solid first preseason game. May flip with Webb if J'Marcus is indicted for manslaughter for the number of hits he allows to Cutler's head.
Frank Omiyale- Angelo's free agent headstratcher from a few years ago is the swing tackle off the bench, but hopefully injuries/ineffectiveness don't force O'le into extended action this season.