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Garza ruled out for Sunday, Williams moves to left guard

Will the former 2008 1st round selection finally play up to his draft position, potential at guard?

Chris Williams returned to practice Wednesday but not to the left tackle spot he has occupied since the 12th game of last year.

Instead, the former first-rounder from Vanderbilt performed reps at left guard.  Tice wants to find some unity, chemistry for the group which is easily the team’s biggest, most glaring weakness.

“He’s one of our top five guys and I’m going to try to find a way to get him on the field without disrupting some of the things that we’ve done to this point,” OL coach Mike Tice said. ”In the last week, we have started to establish some of the young guys that we felt could help us moving forward.

”At the same time, a couple guys who are in the mix to move if we want to move Chris in certain spots have played OK. You don’t want to punish anybody. Our goal is to get five guys out there and establish some continuity. To this point we haven’t had any continuity, and that has killed us a lot.”

Sliding Williams alongside center Olin Kreutz means good news for Frank Omiyale, who has filled in admirably(?) at left tackle for Williams since Week 2 in Dallas.  Has any Bear offensive lineman played admirably?  I expect this switch to be a minor adjustment process for Williams, as I believe it’s impact will be next to nothing.  I don’t see anything eventful happening; the line play will still be shaky protecting the passer.  Nonetheless, the change could bring some hope in its blocking for Jay, keeping him healthy, in one piece.  Well it’s all said and done on Sunday, let’s make sure our QB is able to answers questions from the media during the post-game press conference.  Over/under for sacks is set at: 6, his uniform number.

Back to the line, and its play: Rookie 7th round draft pick from West Texas A&M, tackle J’Marcus Webb, and second-year guard Edwin Williams, started on the right side of the line, helping the Bears rush for the team’s highest total since week 8 of 1990, October 28 at Phoenix’s Sun Devil Stadium (yes, Phoenix, not Arizona) against the Cardinals, when they rushed for 223 yards with a trio of: Neal Anderson, Brad Muster, and Jim Harbaugh.  The 218 yards on the ground at Carolina on Sunday were the most accumulated since that hot afternoon in the Valley of the Sun in late October of 1990.  That’s two decades worth of research complimentary of Pro Football Reference:  Check it out

Now back to the future – So, with veteran guard Roberto Garza scheduled to undergo arthoscopic knee surgery, that means left guard is the only place for Williams.

”Omiyale has played solid football for us,” Tice said. ”Like every guy playing left tackle, if he has a glaring boo-boo, it’s like playing corner; it shines and everybody can see it and say, ‘Oh, boy, he played like crap today.’ But in the scheme of things, Frank played pretty good football Sunday.”

The move clearly comes as a surprise.

”At this stage of [Williams’] career — and he would probably disagree with me — he’s a better run blocker than he is a pass protector,” Tice said. ”I know he doesn’t want to hear that, but I just evaluate the film and make a determination that way.”

As for the mad man/guru/genius offensive coordinator, he had this to say: ”To start moving those guys around and play roulette with them, it’s hard enough as it is,” Martz said. ”We’re trying to keep it as calm and leave guys in place and let them grow and get used to each other as much as we can.

”We know Chris can fill in anywhere and play. We know what kind of player he is, whether he’s a left tackle, right guard, whatever it is. We’re just excited to have him back.”

Tough injury for Garza, who hasn’t missed a regular season game in the NFL since 2003 when he was with Atlanta.  His streak of 76 straight starts at guard on the Bears offensive line will be broken this Sunday.  An impressive run will be snapped, however, you better believe this tough guy will return sooner than he’s supposed to.  Expect him back not before too long.

“He’s been fighting a knee injury,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. “Hope we can get him back before long. He’s been trying to work through it, but we just feel like it’s not getting any better and we need to get it taken care of. We’ll be doing that [the scope] shortly.”

Starting OL for Bears Sunday vs. Seattle (from left tackle to right tackle): Omiyale-Williams-Kreutz-Williams-Webb


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