Chicago Bears offensive tackle Kyle Long had a bad game against the Minnesota Vikings this past weekend, and it was a microcosm of a larger issue within the Bears roster: Their offensive line is offensive.
Long is by far the best lineman the Chicago Bears have in their clubhouse, but 2015 has been an inconsistent year for the two-time Pro Bowler. He started his NFL career at right guard, then due to lack of talent and depth, along with injuries, he got kicked out to right tackle in 2015.
One thing that we know is each position requires a very specific skill set, and players will take hundreds-- thousands even- of repetitions to hone those skills and create muscle memory. They practice over and over and over against dozens of techniques deployed by defensive linemen, and on top of that, face different types of linemen along the way.
So to ask a player to switch positions completely isn't as simple unplugging from one place and plugging in somewhere else-- it's a very tough transition for anyone to make.
"I know what we have for the next three games, so I know he's going to be [at right tackle]," Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase said last Thursday. "We're going to keep him where he's at and once we finish this year out, we'll go back and re-evaluate and see what happens after that."
Note that came from last Thursday, three days before Long had yet another bad day at work.
And of course, fans love to criticize players from the comforts of their own homes.
"At tackle, if you get your hand swiped and a guy beats you, you're going to see it,' Long said. "Joe Schmo, who is watching at home, is going to be like, ‘Oh, Kyle Long, pull him out, take him out now.' Which I get. If I went to your job and saw the way you were entering numbers into the Excel spreadsheet, I'd probably have an issue with it myself."
Will the Bears consider moving Long to yet another position for 2016? They'll need to figure that out first, prior to Free Agency starting in March.