Charles Leno, Jr., Matt Slauson, Hroniss Grasu, Vladimir Ducasse, Kyle Long.
If these five offensive linemen start one more game together this season -- their third -- they will be the eighth most cohesive offensive line combination Jay Cutler has stood behind as a Chicago Bear. If they finish out the season, they top the list. Crazy but true.
And with the Bears at the bye week, the Cubs eliminated, the Blackhawks just getting rolling and the Bulls a week away from their season, I figured now was good a time as any to take a comprehensive look at the offensive lines that have protected 6.
First, some stats.
In 87 games up to Sunday's OT loss to Detroit, Cutler has been sacked 213 times. He has stood behind 26 offensive linemen in 30 offensive line combinations.
As Green Bay's starting QB since 2008, Aaron Rodgers, has made 109 starts behind 27 combinations and 17 offensive linemen.
What stands out, other than Rodgers actually getting sacked 49 more times than Cutler, is that Rodgers has stability in front of him. He has six lineups that have started at least eight games together. Cutler has three. 2009 and 2012 were the only seasons where one of GB's five o-line slots was not filled by a player who spent at least 10 games there -- right tackle both times. Jay's had that happen six times.
Most significantly, Rodgers' most ramshackle o-line season was 2011 with six combinations. Naturally, the Pack went 15-1. The last three seasons, if not for one week in 2014 where they changed their RT, the Pack has had a single o-line every year. The Bears did that once with Jay -- 2013 -- and have two six-lineup seasons and one year (2014) with 10.
Enough comparisons. Here are all of Jay's o-linemen, by games started.
Jermon Bushrod, 26 games
J'Marcus Webb, 25 games
Frank Omiyale, 15 games
Orlando Pace, 11 games
Chris Williams, 7 games
Charles Leno, Jr., 3 games
Michael Ola, 2 games
We've got three high-profile guys here: free-agent signees Bushrod and Pace, who we all knew was over-the-hill when we signed him in 2009, and Chris Williams, a first-round pick who did not pan out. Webb starting 25 games is an abomination, but as is usually the case fans blamed the player when the team was at fault.
Chris Williams, 22 games
Matt Slauson, 21 games
Frank Omiyale, 12 games
Chilo Rachal, 7 games
Roberto Garza, Josh Beekman,4 games
Edwin Williams, Chris Spencer, James Brown, 3 games
Brian De La Puente, Ryan Groy, 2 games
Slauson has definitely been the most successful of the group; his next start ties Williams with 22. Rachal played in a lineup that went 6-1 in 2012, but his time ended when he briefly went AWOL after getting demoted. His season ended on the non-injury list as the Bears bottomed out and missed the playoffs; he signed with Arizona in the offseason.
Roberto Garza, 47 games
Olin Kreutz, 33 games
Brian De La Puente, 4 games
Will Montgomery, 3 games
Hroniss Grasu, 2 games
Forget about left tackle. Center might be the most important position on the o-line. The center, after all, is the one man each play guaranteed to touch the ball. We've had stability here -- Kreutz started every game Cutler played with the Bears in his first two years, and until his injuries last season Garza did the same from 2011 to 2013.
Big question marks at the position this year. As with all matters Bears-related... we'll see.
Roberto Garza, 27 games
Kyle Long, 26 games
Lance Louis, 16 games
Chris Spencer, 10 games
Vlad Ducasse, 5 games
Gabe Carimi, 3 games
Edwin Williams, 2 games
Probably our most successful position. You've got Garza, who started 27 games at RG along with a Cutler-era Bears-high 78 overall. Lance Louis was having a terrific season in 2012 before Jared Allen ended it with an illegal hit that tore Louis' ACL. [video]
And you've got Kyle Long, the team's only o-line Pro Bowler (twice) in the Cutler era, which he did from this position.
Jordan Mills, 23 games
J'Marcus Webb, 13 games
Gabe Carimi, 12 games
Chris Williams, 11 games
Kevin Shaffer, 7 games
Kyle Long, Lance Louis, Frank Omiyale, Jonathan Scott, 5 games
Look at those two names at the top, then look at the next two names. That about tells the tale of RT in the Cutler era.
The Bears spent first-round picks on Carimi (2011) and Williams (2008). They spent a fifth-round pick on Mills (2013) and a seventh-rounder on Webb (2010). Yet because of the inefficiencies of the first two, we ended up with 36 combined starts for the second two. So it goes.
Quick Gabe Carimi story...
During the 2012 season, myself and a photographer wanted to do a series on Bears tattoos. We ended up with Gabe and D.J. Moore.
We went to Gabe's house the day after the Bears lost to Houston at home to end their six-game winning streak, a game in which Cutler left the field with a head injury after a brutal hit helmet-to-helmet hit. The hit was the result of Jay probably holding on to the ball half a second too long as he scrambled toward the line of scrimmage before unloading a pass in the face of an attacking defender.
The next day, the photog Lenny and I were at Carimi's house, which was planned long in advance. None of us knew yet that he would be benched for the upcoming game against San Francisco, but he knew he didn't have a great game against Houston. After the shoot we filmed an interview, prior to which I asked Gabe if Lenny could take a photo of the interview with Gabe's phone and then asked if he would tweet it to promote the story. Somewhat of a ballsy request, but I figured what the hell.
"Sure," he said. "Type whatever you want, let me see it and then send it."
And then he added, "I haven't checked twitter in a while."
We took the photo and sent the tweet, something like "Doing an interview now with @redeyechicago about my tattoo -- story to come!" A few minutes later while Lenny was breaking down his equipment Gabe was checking his phone when his face soured. He looked sad, like a reprimanded boy.
I checked twitter and sure enough the first response to Carimi's tweet was a fan who wrote something like, "Stop doing interviews and learn how to block."
Carimi deleted his account shortly after, started one more game for the Bears in Week 15 and was shipped to Tampa Bay in June.
Things are looking better for our newest right tackle, the Pro Bowler Long, who could finish the season second to his old pal Mills for most RT starts in the Cutler era. As always, here's hoping.
LASTLY... because why not?