Bears must fix line to contend
Chicago's struggles at tackle could derail any chance at postseason success
Rarely does a one-game sample provide an accurate snapshot of an NFL player or team, but the Chicago Bears were beaten up and beaten down by the San Francisco 49ers this past Monday night, specifically along the offensive line, which surrendered six sacks of fill-in quarterback Jason Campbell.
Five and a half of those came from 49ers star linebacker Aldon Smith, who dominated from both the right and left side of the defense, further calling into question the play of both of Chicago's offensive tackles: J'Marcus Webb (left) and Gabe Carimi (right).
The six overall sacks allowed on Monday brought Chicago's season total to 34, second most in the NFL. And although the Bears would be in playoff position if the season ended today, it doesn't. Six games is plenty of time for this problem to torpedo the Bears' playoff hopes. The question now is what are the Bears going to do about it?
Offensive coordinator (and former offensive line coach) Mike Tice spoke with reporters this week about what needed to be better from his line, saying, "At a certain point, a player, a man, needs to grit his teeth, buck up and win a fight."
As far as remedies are concerned, that's not the only change Tice will look to, as Carimi and left guard Chilo Rachal have both been demoted from the starting lineup.
Rachal previously replaced Chris Spencer after his early season struggles, and from my perspective, has been sufficient. The primary issues with the Bears' offensive line have appeared to be both Carimi and Webb.
To see exactly what the Bears are doing to address their line woes, get notes from around the NFL and an early look at potential free-agent fits, plus get access to all of Insider's NFL content, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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