Bears offensive linemen Jonathan Scott, Chris Spencer to the rescue
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com November 22, 2012 8:40PM
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:26AM
After an embarrassing outing in San Francisco, the Bears are overhauling their offensive line with six games to go in the regular season.
Gabe Carimi and Chilo Rachal have been benched, and Jonathan Scott and Chris Spencer will take over at right tackle and left guard, respectively.
Coach Lovie Smith wouldn’t confirm the changes, but during the portion of practice open to reporters, Spencer and Scott were working with the starting offense. In addition, Carimi confirmed that he wasn’t starting anymore, and the Bears put Rachal on the reserve/non-football-injury list.
“This is not the first time in my career that people have doubted me, and it won’t be the last,’’ Carimi said. “I just view it as an obstacle in my life. I know I’ll get my opportunity again, and I know I have better play in me.”
Carimi played well in his first NFL start last season, but he dislocated his knee in the second game. He had multiple procedures, missing the rest of the season. Since then, he has struggled. He acknowledged that he was inconsistent of late.
He refused to blame his injury (“I’m not going to make any excuses for myself,” he said) and insisted he’s not bitter toward the coaches for their decision, except for “the first 10 seconds.”
In Scott, the Bears have a veteran with extensive experience, although he is on his fourth NFL team since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. Scott, 29, has 28 NFL starts, including nine for the Steelers when they won the AFC title during the 2010 season.
“Today, I was just getting into the flow of things,” Scott said after practice, “meshing with the other guys. I just have to be on their page. I’m excited.”
Scott said he longs for a Super Bowl ring, and he believes the Bears can do it, even with a struggling offensive line.
“It’s about adversity,’’ Scott said. ‘‘It’s about meeting adversity, and we have to show that will and show that fight, and I believe we have that in us.’’
Despite the benching, the Bears aren’t giving up on Carimi.
“Gabe works hard and is a very good professional for a young player,” offensive coordinator Mike Tice said Wednesday. “But we all have to have better results.”
Rachal struggled against his former team, the 49ers, on Monday night. When informed of his benching, he left the team.