Over a series of upcoming posts, we’ll take a look at how the Bears 2010 opening day roster will shape up at each position. Last week we looked at the QBs. Next up: the big uglies on the o-line.
Lock: Chris Williams, Frank Omiyale, Kevin Schaffer, Olin Kreutz, Josh Beekman
Limbo: Roberto Garza, Lance Louis, Johan Asiata, J’Marcus Webb, Veteran Guard TBD(?)
Prediction: The tackles appear to be set for the foreseeable future with Williams holding down the left and Omiyale – a guard last year – settling in on the right. Omiyale was credited for his solid play two years ago in Carolina when he filled in down the stretch for an injured Jordan Gross. Schaffer will once again prove to be a reliable backup swing tackle. Webb will likely stick around as a side project for O-line coach Mike Tice.
The guard position is where things get interesting.
When Tice had Schaffer, a 9-year tackle, line up at guard over the recent mini-camp, it clearly signaled the Bears are not satisfied with what they have on the interior. And I think their patience with Garza will run out this year when he’ll get bumped by one of the young guys…my guess is Louis. And I’d be shocked if Jerry Angelo doesn’t swing a deal for a veteran guard, or pick up a summer cap casualty.
This will probably be the last year we see old #57 Kreutz in a Bears uniform as his contract expires at the end of the season. It would appear Beekman is the heir apparent at center, but he’ll also provide depth at guard.
What the Bears appear to lack as far as grade ‘A’ talent, they make up for in versatility. They have 3 guys – Omiyale, Beekman and Schaffer – who could move inside or out in a pinch. So I think the Bears will be okay going 8 deep on the offensive line on opening day 2010.
And no, I’m not counting long-time long-snapper Patrick Mannelly as an o-lineman.