By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears had a down season in 2017 having trouble at almost every position on the team. The guard position was a sore spot for the Bears in 2017 as injuries hurt them greatly. There was a lot of moving around, during the season, which had to be done to shore the guard spots up. At times, it appeared as if some games the Bears wouldn’t have any guards available. Luckily, they have tackles that could step in and play guard, so all was not lost.
The Bears have some decisions to make at guard. They will need some depth and may even need some starting power now that they have chosen not to bring back Josh Sitton. Kyle Long spends most of his time on the sidelines injured while Eric Kush was hurt in training camp and didn’t see the field in 2017. The Bears are going to be thin at the position heading into the deeper part of the offseason and may need to use some draft picks to help shore up the position and make it better.
But what they decide to do at the guard position is a story for another day. Right now, we will concentrate on what the players listed as guards on the roster did in 2017 and see what their future in 2018 might look like.
Without further delay, here is the list of players the Bears have at the guard position going into the 2018 NFL offseason.
(Note: Now that Josh Sitton is no longer a Bear, we will not review him as part of this group)
Kyle Long-What can you say about Kyle Long? He has spent a majority of the last two seasons on the sideline with injuries and isn’t reliable. He’s still very good when he’s on the field, but his ability to stay on the field must be questioned.
Altogether, he played in a total of just ten games with nine starts in 2017. He sat out the first couple games of the year recovering from surgery he had the previous season, played a few games and was shuffled in and out of the lineup due to various ailments. Then he went on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
The biggest question is, just how well or how long will he be able to hold up? What about the injuries Long is currently suffering through? Will he be able to make it back in time to start the NFL season or will there be a delay in his ability to return on time?
Look for Long to be back and, depending on any injuries he may suffer, play well but if he gets hurt again and misses significant time, it could be the last season we see him in a Bear’s uniform.
Here’s hoping for a healthy start to the 2018 season.
Eric Kush-Kush ended up on injured reserve in training camp last year thanks to a torn hamstring. The word is that he will back and ready for training camp this year, and the Bears need him. They could use the depth at the position especially after what we saw last year. If Kush can make it back from his injury and have a good season, he could be in line for another contract. Right now, his current contract runs out at the end of the 2018 season.
Expect Kush to make an impact this season provided he is and remains healthy.
Jordan Morgan-Morgan was the Bears’ fifth-round draft pick from a season ago. He was placed on injured reserve at the start of the season with a shoulder injury. It’s possible that the Bears stashed him there so that another team wouldn’t grab him. Coming from a small school, Morgan has a lot to learn but should get another chance to try to make the active roster in training camp this summer. The biggest question with him is, will he be able to keep up and play at an NFL level?
There were doubts about Morgan after he was drafted out of tiny Kutztown. He struggled in training camp last summer, but maybe after sitting a year and watching, he will be able to adjust and play better. We can only hope because the Bears could have used that pick for other positions. If he doesn’t make it then that pick will have been a waste.
Will Pericak-Pericak is part of the Bears reserve/future list. He has three years of NFL experience and has spent time with six NFL teams before landing with the Bears. He has talent and Chicago will take a closer look at him during the offseason.
Cameron Lee-This former Illinois State product has been with two other teams before coming to Chicago early last season. He spent some time on the practice squad but was elevated to the active roster in early December. Now, he stands poised to compete for a backup guard spot in training camp this summer. He brings great size to the position but is a little raw. Perhaps, with some good coaching, he could be a viable option as a backup for the Bears.