It's been no secret the last few years that the Bears have been in dire need of offensive line help. Unfortunately, a lot of the moves they've made haven't panned out, be it draft picks or free agents.
This year, though, the Bears went out and signed tackle Jermon Bushrod and drafted Jordan Mills. These moves should bring both youth and experience to a unit that has struggled in recent years.
The offensive line is going to look quite different this year with as many as three new starters and a fourth player at a new position. Let's see how it shakes out for the bookend positions.
Starting left tackle: Jermon Bushrod (7th NFL season)
Job responsibilities: Protect the quarterback's blindside, seal the edges and keep pass rushers from getting to the QB. Set the pocket in the pass game and create running lanes in the run game.
Job so far: He has yet to perform with the Bears, but with the Saints he was known as a solid, upper-echelon left tackle. He was a Pro-Bowler in 2011 and should finally bring some resolve to the problems the Bears have had at that position.
Confidence level: High. Profootballfocus.com may say that the move is a sidestep rather than a large improvement, but after enduring two years of Webb's continuous struggles, anyone new is welcome.
Starting right tackle: J'Marcus Webb (4th season)
Job responsibilities: The same as above, except on the other side.
Job so far: Webb has been bad, really bad at times. He legitimately improved last year and was actually playing well down the stretch to the point where he wasn't the worst offensive line.
Confidence level: Low. What makes us think Webb will move back to the right and suddenly be a Pro-Bowler? No one and he should at least be better on the right and be a better fit over there.
Backup tackles: Jonathan Scott, James Brown, Cory Brandon, Jordan Mills
Job responsibilities: Provide depth, and be ready to be called upon in the event of injury or poor play.
Job so far: Between the three of them they have played in 75 games with 38 starts. That said, 70 of the games and 35 of the starts come from Scott so there is not a ton of experience on the depth chart. Scott will be competing with Webb for the starting RT job, so the loser of that battle will be the most experienced backup.
Confidence level: Low. It's unlikely the loser of the Scott/Webb battle will instill confidence in fans if called into action. Brandon is an unknown but he's been on and off the practice squad several times so the team must be interested in him as a developmental prospect. Mills likely won't be ready to contribute much as a rookie.
Overall confidence level: Low
Unfortunately, the signing of Jermon Bushrod isn't enough to completely change the tides for this group. The depth leaves a lot to be desired and the right tackle spot isn't exactly anchored. That said, there should be improvement from the group and hopefully competition breeds excellence in the case of the right tackle.
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