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Be concerned, but don't forget: Chicago Bears offensive line miles ahead of past regimes

The right tackle position has been getting a lot of focus this preseason, and for good reason. But let's not lose perspective here.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Recently I was a guest on an NFL interview panel, and was asked about the right tackle position for the Chicago Bears, and how concerned fans should be with that gaping weakness in the offensive line.  It was a valid question, but I had two answers in mind.

One, the one I answered with, was yes, that is a legitimate concern, and the Chicago Bears will have to get something figured out in a hurry if they want to have success on the right side of the line this season.

The other answer, which I didn't give, was definitely accurate.  There was a time not too long ago when the Chicago Bears weren't worrying about ONE offensive line position-- they were worried about 80% of them.  For years, Olin Kreutz was the anchor and only consistent face on a rotating offensive line that Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo didn't really care too much about. They would alternate, rotate, sign cheap guys off the street-- plug in just anyone, hope for the best, and let the defense win games..

We lived through John St. Clair, Chris Williams, Orlando Pace, Kevin Shaffer, Fred Miller, Josh Beekman, Frank Omiyale, Lance Louis, J'Marcus Webb, Gabe Carimi, Chris Spencer... You want me to stop? Because there were more.

Remember when Jerry Angelo traded for Jay Cutler, but did absolutely nothing to try and provide any sort of protection up front?  It's a wonder that Matt Forte survived, much less as productively as he did.  Granted, there were some really, really low YPC numbers from Forte for a while there, but Barry Sanders wouldn't have had any luck behind those guys.

I remember thinking, wishing so hard, that if the Bears could just get an average offensive line put together-- just guys who would go out there and not screw up too badly-- that Cutler, Forte, Marshall, and the rest of the offense could actually move the damn football.  But aside from Kreutz, we had false starters, holders, floppers, fallers, limpers, cryers... There was a time when Jay Cutler had to take every snap in passing situations from the shotgun, and even then he would be running for his life before he could even get a grip on the football.

Literally four out of five Bears linemen were a whirlwind of hot messes for years and years, and our GM and head coach just didn't really see the need in investing in the offensive trenches.  Brad Biggs of the Tribune once said about a high-dollar free agent offensive guard: A guard never won a team the Super Bowl.  True, but we saw the result of playing musical chairs with guys who would go on to never play another snap in the NFL after eventually being cut by Chicago.

So to the gentleman who asked me if I was concerned about our current situation at right tackle: Yes, sort of, maybe.  Not really. It is a position that can certainly be upgraded, and of course can cause some problems for offensive production if it doesn't get addressed.  But overall, I'm good.  At least until we get other critical pieces of the puzzle figured out first.