Kromer values versatility in experiments with Bears’ O-line
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com July 31, 2013 8:47PM
Updated: September 3, 2013 7:13AM
BOURBONNAIS — It’s one big experiment up front for the Bears’ offense, and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer is in charge of it. But the reputable line coach won’t rush things, even though the defensive line has stood out more during training camp.
“Our goal is to find the best five,” Kromer said Wednesday. “When we find the best five, it’ll be obvious. Whether we put them at left guard, right guard, whoever they are, we’ll find them. And we don’t control when that’ll happen. It’ll just happen.”
Kromer has experimented with various looks in five practices. Some are attributable to injuries; others are more about competition.
“I always think it’s important to have versatility because you have seven guys dressed on game day,” Kromer said. “So you need a guy who can play backup guard and center. You need a guy who can play backup tackle, as well, at both sides.”
First-round pick Kyle Long continues to rotate in with the first team with guards James Brown and Matt Slauson. Brown also has played on both sides.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod’s right calf strain has allowed others to work with the first-team offense for consecutive practices. With backup tackle Jonathan Scott sitting out because of a sore right knee Wednesday, veteran Eben Britton worked extensively with the first team at left tackle. Cory Brandon, a practice-squad player for most of 2012, also got reps.
“We’re going to be very patient with [the offensive line] going into finishing the first, then the second and third week,” coach Marc Trestman said, “and then we’ll do our evaluation [and] start gearing guys into the positions we think they’ll be working at at the start of the season.”
Trestman said one of the pros of using the read-option with quarterback Jay Cutler is that he thinks Cutler “knows how to get down” when running and “how to take care of himself most of the time.”
But Trestman isn’t exactly saying he’s planning to use the read-option. If anything, he said, “Every team is doing some form of read-option preparation as they work into the season,” and it helps your defense prepare for teams that run it.
Cutler also was asked how much read-option the Bears would run, and he replied, “None.”
“Is that where we’re going with this offense? No, we’re not going that way with this offense,” Trestman said.
“But to have a part of it in there at some point during the season, it forces teams to get prepared.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, as expected, returned to practice after sitting out Monday. . . . Cornerback Tim Jennings was excused for personal reasons. Zack Bowman played in his spot opposite Charles Tillman. . . . Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring) participated in individual drills. . . . Defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson sat out because of soreness in his right knee.