Tice lines up for progress
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org
Bears coach Mike Tice has to be resourceful in finding ways to encourage his besieged offensive line.
So in the midst of the offense's disastrous second half Sunday, Tice scrounged for some scraps to lift up his linemen, although none of them were thrilled with the outcome.
''We don't want to be the reason for the turnovers, and we didn't feel like, in the course of the [game], we were -- for a change -- and so it was nice,'' Tice said.
Later, Tice said: ''I thought mentally, and the way they approached the game, and the rhythm they created for themselves ... this was the most confidence they played with.''
Tice and his players have handled themselves professionally and admirably, given the many problems they've had, from pass protection and run blocking.
Eight players have already started at least two games, and only center Olin Kreutz has started every game at one position. Injuries are partly to blame, particularly to veterans Roberto Garza and Chris Williams.
But the Bears may finally have a starting five.
Tice said the team is ''settled'' on the left side (Frank Omiyale at left tackle, Williams at left guard), at center with Kreutz and at right tackle with rookie J'Marcus Webb. Edwin Williams, a 2009 undrafted player who started three games, is expected to cede right guard to Garza, who missed two games because of a knee scope.
''It might be a good blend to get the older guy in there,'' Tice said referring to Garza, ''to help settle down the young guy [Webb] even more and have him take one more big step.''
Against the Seattle Seahawks, Webb and Edwin Williams struggled with communication, particularly when linebackers and defensive backs blitzed.
On Sunday, the Bears did a better job of picking up blitzes against the Redskins.
''We're continuing to grow,'' Garza said. ''It's a process. We definitely got better in the second half.''
Tice said there was no uncertainty from his players, in picking up the blitzes against the Redskins.
''Like any group that's growing, a lot of the things we screwed up, we were going to get again, and we did, in some form, and we hit 'em in the nose,'' Tice said, ''so we were pleased with that. If you get it cleaned up, you don't have to deal with it anymore.''
Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked three times in the first 20 minutes of the game. But his protection got better, especially after the Bears started double-teaming Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
After practice Wednesday, Tice said his players had a good meeting and practice.
''We're fixing some things,'' he said. ''We can take another step this week.''