Kyle Long, Jordan Mills may be right guys on offensive line
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter August 14, 2013 9:42PM
Updated: August 14, 2013 11:13PM
BOURBONNAIS — Assignments will be blown, sacks will be given up and frustration will ensue. But Bears offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer wants that to continue right now for two rookies, right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Jordan Mills.
Kromer will throw them to the wolves and let them learn and grow — that’s part of the plan to find the best five for the offensive line.
“They’re rookies,’’ Kromer said. ‘‘They have a lot to learn. It’s going to take time. But the only way they can learn is by doing it. So they need to continue to get reps.”
Barring any unforeseen changes, Long and Mills will take the field with quarterback Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ first-team offense Thursday against the San Diego Chargers after practicing in those spots since Sunday.
While starting two rookies up front seems like an unwanted situation for any team, the Bears aren’t afraid to try it for the time being, especially with J’Marcus Webb struggling and Jonathan Scott out with a knee injury. It might actually be a preview of a long-term solution on the right side of the line.
“Since we’ve been working together a lot with the twos and threes, it was a good transition,” Long said. “I think they’re just trying to throw us in there and see what we can do.”
What they can do is secure another week of working with the first team with strong performances. Long and Mills each played 52 snaps on offense in the Bears’ first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. They’ll have a similar workload against the Chargers, but seeing them with the starters bears the most attention.
Kromer said the offensive line “blocked the right guys” for the most part against the Panthers, but that their “technique was not where it needs to be.” That definitely applies to Long and Mills.
“They have grown every day,” coach Marc Trestman said. “They are going to get significant work again, and they’ll have the opportunity to play some against San Diego’s ones.”
The Bears’ starters — notably defensive ends Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin and defensive tackle Stephen Paea — have given Mills and Long problems in practice.
But that’s part of the learning process, too.
“The two rookies we got right now, I think they’re pretty far along,” Cutler said. “They’re really talented guys physically. We’ll get them caught up mentally. They want to be in there, they want to do a good job, and that’s the most important thing. If you’ve got a guy that wants to do it, we’ll figure out a way.”