Back to square one at left tackle
By JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 11, 2012 7:54PM
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:28AM
BOURBONNAIS — The game film doesn’t lie. Especially when there’s a coaching staff very capable of handling the business of deception all on its own.
So if there are any truths to be told about the head games being played on the offensive line, they weren’t about to be revealed on Saturday.
In the Bears’ first practice since an embarrassing 31-3 loss to Denver on Thursday night, Chris Williams was out at the right tackle spot he had been working in last week and back at the left tackle spot, taking reps away from J’Marcus Webb.
Basically, it was like the staff just hit rewind back to the start of camp when left tackle was up for grabs.
“All positions are open,’’ Bears head coach Lovie Smith replied, when asked if left tackle was again taking job applications.
A much different attitude from last week, when Webb appeared to have the spot locked down.
Then came the game with Denver, and out popped “Bad J’Marcus,’’ forcing Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Tice to go back to square one.
“Coach told me to get some work in on left tackle [Saturday]. That was it, you know. I just do what I’m told,’’ Williams said, when asked if mind games were being played. “It’s O-line man, so hands and feet, so just go out and work and let it work itself out.’’
It had better.
Center Roberto Garza admitted that the film session was tough to watch, especially when the line was thinking that the problems from last season were in the rear-view mirror.
“Unfortunately, you think you cleaned them up, you think you were past that, but obviously we’re not,’’ Garza said.
There were two big reasons on display Saturday that has Smith stressing improved offensive line play: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Both receivers were unstoppable in the red zone, using their size to go over defensive backs, and sturdy hands to catch anything near them.
“We have good offensive skill guys,’’ Smith said. “We need to be able to protect and give [quarterback] Jay [Cutler] some time, and we can move the ball this year.’’
Smith said of the entire receiving corps that, “We haven’t had a group like this.’’
Jeffery was one of the few bright spots in Smith’s eyes from Thursday, and he could begin pushing for a starting job.
“He’s one of the few guys we were pleased with, as far as his ability to make plays,’’ Smith said regarding the loss to Denver. “He’s a good football player and he’s getting more and more confidence.’’
Dings and dents
Receiver Eric Weems was back at practice on Saturday after missing most of last week, but now the Bears are thin at linebacker with the injury bug hitting that unit. Second-year nose tackle Stephen Paea dinged up an ankle on Saturday, but it didn’t appear serious.