Consistency is top priority in J’Marcus Webb’s transition from left tackle to right
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org August 3, 2013 12:00AM
According to Pro Football Focus, offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb (above) was tied with guard Lance Louis as the Bears’ top lineman last season. | Sun-Times Library
STUCK IN THE WEBB
Here’s the game-by-game
breakdown of J’Marcus Webb’s 2012 season by Pro Football Focus, which looks at every snap and applies plus or minus ratings:
vs. IND 5.4
at GB -3.0
vs. STL -0.4
at DAL -0.6
at JAX 2.6
vs. DET 2.5
vs. CAR -2.0
at TEN -2.7
vs. HOU 1.8
at SF -6.4
vs. MIN -0.9
vs. SEA 0.3
at MIN 0.9
vs. GB 0.6
at ARI -0.5
at DET 0.6
Updated: September 5, 2013 6:57AM
BOURBONNAIS — It could have been the chest bump he received from quarterback Jay Cutler. It could be all his activity on Twitter. Or it could be his happy-go-lucky demeanor and big, beaming smile.
Whatever the reason, offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb has been a lightning rod for criticism when the Bears’ offensive line struggles. He even gets heckled by fans during one-on-one drills at training camp.
Some of it is fair and some isn’t.
‘‘I feel pretty comfortable with what I did [in 2012],’’ Webb said. ‘‘I just have to take that as a platform and take it a step further and make sure I solidify myself as a really good tackle in this league.’’
He really has no other choice. Even though Webb started every game at left tackle for a 10-6 team last season, the Bears still thought an upgrade was needed and signed Jermon Bushrod to a lucrative five-year deal. Webb was bumped to the right side, a move he said he ‘‘happily accepted.’’ But he’s essentially in a spot where he has to prove himself all over again. He’s in a contract year and in a completely new offense with different coaches.
Coach Marc Trestman and coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer are installing a complicated offense. It will feature man- and zone-blocking schemes in the running game and an inside-out protection scheme to keep Cutler upright. Athletic — and consistent — linemen are needed.
Webb has come a long way since being drafted in the seventh round in 2010, but Kromer’s approach is definitely different from that of former coordinator Mike Tice. Nonetheless, Webb said he likes it.
‘‘There’s more emphasis on technique,’’ Webb said, ‘‘[and] knowing that I’ve played a few years, it’s more accountability in how I have to play to the best of my ability every single down and be physical and emphasize the protection on the quarterback.”
‘‘Accountability’’ is the key word because it has been an up-and-down camp for Webb, Trestman said.
‘‘J’Marcus is day-to-day,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He has some terrific moments. He’s got to continue to be consistent. He ascends some days and levels off.’’
According to Pro Football Focus’ ratings, which general manager Phil Emery said the Bears have used, Webb was tied with guard Lance Louis as the Bears’ best lineman last season. But it’s easy to remember Webb’s two awful outings: Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, when he allowed two sacks, and Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers, when he gave up three sacks.
According to PFF, he allowed 30 hurries in 2012 (second-most on the team) but didn’t give up a sack in the final six games.
‘‘I don’t even look at those numbers,’’ Webb said. ‘‘I just kind of play, game-plan and seek out the W’s. I do think I played consistent, and that’s one of the things I have to do this year to be a really good tackle in the NFL.’’
Trestman said Webb has been ‘‘extremely focused’’ in the meetings he has attended.
‘‘He’s on top of everything, and Aaron and [assistant line coach] Pat [Meyer] are working really hard to continually develop him, and they’re excited to,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He’s a talented young man, and he’s focused and wants to do well.
‘‘These things are day-to-day and week-to-week in terms of progress. He’s working at it every day, and we’ve got some time left to see where this thing takes us as the season gets closer.’’
Ask Webb if he thinks he has proved he can be a left tackle in the NFL, and he says, ‘‘I think so, yeah.”
He just has to prove his worth on the right side right now.