When the Chicago Bears decided to move their best offensive lineman, Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long, to right tackle a week before the season opener, the Bears knew he would go through some growing pains.
Week one against the Green Bay Packers, mostly against Julius Peppers, Long struggled mightily. Peppers racked up 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 tackle for loss and 2 quarterback hits. In their week 12 match-up Peppers was held to a tackle.
Long had some ups and downs as a 1st year right tackle, but he showed flashes of dominance. He battled through some injuries, including a clubbed hand for a few games, but all in all he had a successful 1st season at his new position.
Earlier today he was named to his 3rd consecutive Pro Bowl, but this time as a right tackle. He's the first Bear to be named to the Pro Bowl at multiple positions since Hall Of Famer Dan Hampton was selected at defensive end and defensive tackle.
Sure the Pro Bowl is partly a popularity contest, but Long showed just enough as a pass protector and his run blocking was still a strength of his game, for the NFL to name him as a replacement for the injured Jason Peters.
The details will always separate the "haves" from the "have nots" at this position... pic.twitter.com/25rEgv6ykA— LeCharles Bentley (@OLineWorld65) October 15, 2015
Only 7 Bears have been named to the Pro Bowl in each of their 1st three seasons, and here's that impressive list.
Kyle Long G/T 2013-15
Brian Urlacher LB 2000-02
Gale Sayers RB 1965-67
Dick Butkus LB 1965-67
Mike Ditka TE 1961-63
Rick Casares RB 1955-57
Harlon Hill WR 1954-56
What are your thoughts on Long's selection?
#Bears Kyle Long on Pro Bowl: "I'm very thankful for the fans that voted and for the continual support from the Chicago Bears fan base."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 14, 2016
"Anytime you're mentioned in the same conversation with Brian Urlacher, it's a tremendous honor and I'm very grateful,"
#Bears RT Kyle Long got a call from John Fox about Pro Bowl when "I was playing some Grand Theft Auto this morning"— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) January 14, 2016
Kyle Long: "The big word for me next year is 'consistency.'" #Bears— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) January 14, 2016
#Bears RT Kyle Long on having to endure the growing pains of switching positions: "Hawaii is going to be a lot of fun."— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) January 14, 2016