Rookie linemen Long, Mills get Forte’s backing
BY ADAM L. JAHns Staff Reporter August 21, 2013 9:14PM
Updated: September 23, 2013 2:47PM
Rookie guard Kyle Long and rookie tackle Jordan Mills have done more than enough during camp and in two preseason games to stick with the first-team offense at least for one more exhibition, Friday against the Raiders.
With every practice, they’re making believers out of teammates, and on Wednesday, they received a big endorsement.
“They did a great job [last week against the Chargers],” running back Matt Forte said. “If we can get a push off the ball on the line of scrimmage and . . . I can basically use my vision in the zone-blocking scheme and find a hole, [then] I think we’ll be fine in the running game.”
The duo helped Forte — who’s expected to get more goal-line carries — get in the end zone on a three-yard run. Forte went right behind Long and Mills on the right side, and they were the first players to meet him in the end zone.
Expectations were high for Long from the moment the Bears drafted him 20th overall in April. But Mills, the Bears’ fifth-round pick, also has Forte’s attention.
“They’re doing a good job,” Forte said. “I’m really impressed, especially by Jordan. I didn’t even really notice him during OTAs because we didn’t have pads on. But he stepped up during camp and has been doing a great job.”
Coach Marc Trestman said it’s safe to say that left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza will be starting. It’s on Mills to hold off J’Marcus Webb and Eben Britton and on Long to beat out James Brown.
Quarterback Jay Cutler said he hopes to be comfortable if Long and Mills start on the right side.
“[They’re] doing well [but] got a ways to go,” Cutler said. “I think everyone on offense, including myself, we’re still in the learning process, we’re still figuring things out as we move along, but it’s positive to see [Long and Mills] perform the way they did.”