J’Marcus Webb fighting to keep a place on Bears’ O-line
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org August 13, 2013 10:34PM
Updated: August 13, 2013 11:08PM
BOURBONNAIS — With the Bears’ first training camp under Marc Trestman coming to a close, no player is in a more precarious position than offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb.
His coaches consistently ask for more from him. He has been switched from the right side to the left. And he’s now working with the second-team offense.
It’s also starting to sound — and look — as if Webb is in competition not for a starting spot but a roster spot.
‘‘He moved to the left side, and he had been working the right side, so it did take him a little time to adjust,’’ offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said Tuesday. ‘‘But if he’s going to be on our team, if he makes our eight [offensive linemen who are on the 53-man roster], then he’s going to have to play more than one spot, and this is a great opportunity for him to get those reps.
‘‘You don’t want to have to do it on Wednesday of game week. You want to do it early in the season so he has a feel for what’s going on.’’
Webb lost his starting spot at right tackle — where he worked for the bulk of training camp and offseason workouts — to rookie Jordan Mills. Veterans Eben Britton and Jonathan Scott also are in the running at tackle.
The Bears have liked how Mills has quickly progressed in camp, and it’s very likely he and rookie right guard Kyle Long open with quarterback Jay Cutler in Thursday’s exhibition against the San Diego Chargers.
Scott has been hindered by a right knee injury, but the knee was just drained of fluids, and Trestman said it appears to have gotten better.
On Tuesday, Webb worked at left tackle with the second-team offense for the third consecutive day. Britton was on the right side; he and starting left guard Matt Slauson continue to practice snaps as the Bears feel out the line’s versatility.
Trestman has said Webb’s
demotion is part of the plan to test that versatility.
‘‘I think we’ve been very clear with J’Marcus about what we’re doing,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘I said it last week that there’s been an up-and-down performance level by J’Marcus, but we were still going to do this. We were still going to give work to the other guys and see what they could do as well. So we’ll evaluate it. We’re going to go through the week like this. We’ll evaluate the game and move forward into Oakland [for the third preseason game].’’
Things have reached a point where Cutler and others have talked to Webb.
‘‘I think a lot of us have said something to him,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘You don’t want to see him fall off and not use his ability the way that we think he can use his ability.
‘‘He’s still in the running for this thing, and we’d like to see him go out and rebound and play even better, so we’ll see how he reacts to it.’’