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Despite Mike Tice and Lovie Smith's proclamations to the contrary, left tackle is as wide open as the Grand Canyon. I mean, if you consider the performance of J'Marcus Webb last season you will know what I mean. Statistically, he was the worst LT in the NFL last season.
Yet here is what Tice said (as reported by ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright):
"I think [general manager] Phil [Emery] and [head coach] Lovie [Smith] -- with the help of the scouts and the staff -- if we felt tackle were a dire need for us, I'm sure they would have answered the bell on draft day" Tice said.
And it is true that the position was not addressed in the draft. But that doesn't mean we have to suffer through another season of Webb allowing blitzes to get through him like a sieve.
For one thing, there is talk of moving Chris Williams back to his original tackle position. Now, that could be insurance in case Gabe Carimi can't come back from injury right away. Or, it could be to provide some competition for Webb.
While the idea of having Williams at LT doesn't exactly thrill me, at least it shows that the Bears may be realizing that Webb, despite being very young and athletic, simply isn't the answer—at least for 2012.
Yes, I know the scheme will change under Tice. There will be no more seven step drops and there will be more max protection. But still, even Mike Martz deviated from that at times last year and Webb still wasn't able to get the job done.
There could even be a battle between Webb and Carimi if they decide that Gabe is healthy enough to try to move back to the position he played most in college.
But there is also another option, although it would surprise me if the Bears went after this. Marcus McNeill is available and finally starting to generate some interest from teams. He may not be the left tackle he was back in 2007, but he is only 28 and could be worth the risk, if nothing else, to keep him away from the Lions.