Marc Trestman unfazed by offensive line’s spotty first practice in pads
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org July 28, 2013 9:17PM
Updated: July 28, 2013 10:01PM
BOURBONNAIS — The news wasn’t that the Bears’ offensive line struggled in the first training-camp practice in pads, but that the coach acknowledged it.
‘‘Yeah, absolutely,’’ coach Marc Trestman said without a hint of derision Sunday. ‘‘I thought the defense had the jump-start on us today, and we have to clean up some of the things inside, and we’ll do that. That’s pretty normal for the first time, usually the defense has the jump and it usually evens out in the end. As we went along during practice, we cleaned things up.’’
Each starter on the offensive line took turns getting beat, most notably J’Marcus Webb at right tackle. But it was hardly a harbinger of the line’s struggles in previous seasons. Webb is playing right tackle for the first time in three seasons. Left guard Matt Slauson is in his first season with the team. And left tackle Jermon Bushrod still is Jermon Bushrod.
‘‘This is a unit. We’ve got to play as a family and have each other’s back,’’ said Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowl player. ‘‘We had some ups and downs, starting with myself. You get pads on for the first day and you’ve got to face guys like Julius [Peppers] and [Corey] Wootton coming off that edge — you get a little jittery. But you’ve got to slow yourself down, get back to the fundamentals and do your part and have a little bit of success.’’
Trestman is in a hurry but not in a rush. Former offensive line coach Mike Tice wanted his starting unit defined early in training camp, but Trestman said ‘‘by the first week of the season’’ is fine by him. And he indicated Sunday that even after the starting line is established, he could substitute players depending on the situation in the game.
‘‘It’s a highly competitive situation and however many linemen we suit up, that doesn’t mean we have to play those guys for 75 plays. We can move them around if we have to.’’
The Bears are integrating four players in new positions on the line — center Roberto Garza is the only holdover. And offensive line coach Aaron Kromer’s meticulous, technical approach probably makes progress slow at first as well.
‘‘He’s a very, very technical coach. Everything is so precise,’’ Slauson said. ‘‘But also he likes to get on you and push you and make you work.’’
‘‘His attention to detail is unmatched,’’ said rookie guard Kyle Long, the first-round pick who is playing behind James Brown at right guard. ‘‘I’ve never seen somebody who is so — and this usually has a negative connotation — picky. He’s very picky in his technical adjustments and the things he sees on film. I think that’s going to pay dividends.’’
Slauson, who played the last four seasons with the Jets, likes what he sees with the Bears.
‘‘I haven’t experienced this type of work ethic [in the NFL],’’ he said. ‘‘It’s been very, very inspiring. It’s been incredible to see. I’m excited about that.’’