Bears’ offensive line looks better, but it’s all relative
By Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org August 24, 2011 10:14PM
Updated: November 4, 2011 9:41AM
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz lauded a ‘‘remarkable improvement’’ by the offensive line in the preseason game Monday against the New York Giants. But Martz and offensive line coach Mike Tice were cautious in their praise. With the bar set so low against the Buffalo Bills, ‘‘remarkable’’ is a relative term.
‘‘We had some guys get better across the board,’’ Tice said. ‘‘Mental errors were at a minimum, and they played hard. It was a good stepping-stone, but we’ve got an awful long ways to go still.
‘‘Now the key is, ‘Don’t step back. Don’t think we’ve arrived.’ As soon as you think you’ve arrived, you’re on your way back down.’’
Tice said the starting unit of J’Marcus Webb, Chris Williams, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis and rookie Gabe Carimi will remain intact for the preseason game Saturday against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
Particularly encouraging, Tice said, was the way the line communicated against the Giants.
‘‘There were some unscouted things that came up,’’ he said, ‘‘and they were able to talk it through on the sideline, go back out and correct it. That was a big step.’’
Tice said the second-team line also showed improvement, particularly guards Levi Horn and Edwin Williams.
Webb, the second-year tackle playing on the left side after playing right tackle last season, responded to Tice’s challenge after a subpar performance against the Bills.
‘‘He’s a tremendous athlete,’’ Tice said. ‘‘For the first time since maybe the New England game last year or maybe the Jets, he showed great athleticism — bending, recovering and playing fast. That’s what we expect of him.’’
Briggs, Adams out
Coach Lovie Smith indicated linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive tackle Anthony Adams, who didn’t play against the Giants, won’t play against the Titans and might not play until the regular-season opener Sept. 11 against the Atlanta Falcons.
‘‘We’re going to take our time with them,’’ he said, ‘‘make sure they’re ready to go before we put them back out there. We know what they can do.’’
Safety Zack Bowman, who suffered a head injury against the Bills and didn’t play against the Giants, returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play Saturday.
Wide receiver Sam Hurd, rookie cornerback Mike Holmes and defensive end Corey Wootton also missed practice.
Best yet to come
Asked if he had even begun to show what he’s capable of, wide receiver Roy Williams, who hasn’t had a reception in two games, said, ‘‘Me? No. I haven’t even caught a ball yet.
‘‘But it’s coming along. And once it happens, the fireworks will go off and this offense will be off and running, whether I’m catching the ball or not. We’re an offensive team that can run the ball. We’re a great screen team and a great passing team. I don’t want the focus to be on me. I want it to be on everybody. It’s a team sport.’’