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Bears’ offensive line to get true test from Giants

Right tackle Gabe Carimi knows Giants’ elite defense will reveal whBears’ offensive line is — or isn’t — made of.

Right tackle Gabe Carimi knows the Giants’ elite defense will reveal what the Bears’ offensive line is — or isn’t — made of.  |  Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 24, 2012 7:52AM



As if Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the New York Giants’ defensive line weren’t enough for the Bears to worry about.

Throw in the uncertainty surrounding Brian Urlacher’s left knee and the possibility that the offense might have to carry the team until some solutions can be found, and it’s no wonder the spotlight falls on an offensive line with more questions than answers.

Right tackle Gabe Carimi isn’t downplaying the importance of the group coming together in Friday’s third preseason game.

“No, it’s true,’’ Carimi said Wednesday of what could be a make-or-break showing. ‘‘Whatever the media or the coaches are calling it, they’re right. We’re going to test our protections against one of the best in the business. We’ll know right where we stand.’’

And, more specifically, whom they might be standing next to.

Barring some unforeseen injury, Carimi, right guard Lance Louis and center Roberto Garza have spots locked down. It’s the left side that has become a daily topic since camp started, with offensive coordinator Mike Tice one of its toughest critics.

Coach Lovie Smith confirmed that J’Marcus Webb will start at left tackle, but Chris Williams will get reps there with the first team, too. Left guard was supposed to be Chris Spencer’s to lose, and sure enough, he has come close to losing it. Chilo Rachal is now in the picture and, like Williams, will see time with the first team.

While the Bears would like to have some resolution with the O-line after facing a Giants defensive line considered to be the NFL’s elite, Smith wasn’t promising anything.

‘‘We’ll know more about it this week, but as far as it ending, no,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ll go right up until the last preseason game, the last practice. Then we’ll make a decision.’’

Straight answers about Urlacher’s knee aren’t in the immediate forecast after the Tribune reported that Urlacher traveled to Europe to seek treatment on the knee before finally having it scoped last week. Smith was more likely to give up his game plan for Week 2 against Green Bay than to discuss that.

But no one can deny the need for the offense to play a bigger part in the Bears’ success, with or without Urlacher in uniform in Week 1, as promised.

‘‘We protect arguably the most important position on the field, the quarterback,’’ Carimi said. ‘‘If Jay [Cutler] is able to have time back there, he’s dangerous. If he doesn’t have enough time, it’s on us.’’



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