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Bears’ offensive line appears to have changes in store

Gabe Carimi

Gabe Carimi

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Updated: December 24, 2012 7:09AM

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice always has been a staunch defender of right tackle Gabe Carimi.

He loves his work ethic, appreciates his demeanor and sees plenty of potential.

But at this point in the season after back-to-back losses, the Bears no longer can rely on wishful thinking for Carimi or the rest of the offensive line.

The line’s ineffectiveness is the main reason the Bears are 30th in total offense after 11 weeks.

Asked about changes on the offensive line, Tice didn’t rule anything out for Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Chris Spencer should play after starting left guard Chilo Rachal left the team for personal reasons and was put on the reserve/left-squad list Wednesday.

But more changes might be coming, and all eyes are on left tackle J’Marcus Webb and Carimi after they struggled Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Webb allowed three sacks and five quarterback hurries, while Carimi gave up three sacks, a QB hurry and a QB hit.

Veteran Jonathan Scott, though, only can replace one of them. If anything, Tice intimated that it’s Carimi who needs the most work. With Webb, it’s strictly his hands.

“I’m not trying to be a jerk, but [it’s] all of the above,” Tice said when asked what Carimi needs to improve. “He’s a young player. He gets all worked up and doesn’t settle down, and it compounds. It’s happened more than once.”

Tice’s game plans have been criticized for being predictable — “I have to have better results,” he said — but to be fair, it’s hard to execute a game plan when the line fails to protect the quarterback and doesn’t open holes for the running backs.

Center Roberto Garza sees good things ahead for Carimi but realizes he’s a young lineman learning on the job.

“He’s a guy that takes his job very seriously, and he’s still young,” Garza said. “There’s a learning process for him, and he’s going to figure that out.

‘‘There’s no question in my mind he’s going to be a guy that we can count on.”

Scott said he was unaware of any forthcoming changes at tackle.

“I’m aware of the business of the NFL; it’s definitely day-to-day,” Scott said.

“This is my seventh year, so if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll just be ready.”

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