The Bears made Carimi the No. 29 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft in the hopes that he would be able to come in and immediately protect franchise quarterback Jay Cutler.
That hasn't happened. At all.
Carimi only started in two games during his rookie campaign before suffering a knee injury and being placed on injured reserve, but he has appeared in all 10 of the Bears' contests this season.
The results haven't been positive in any way.
While it's been apparent how badly Carimi has played, he's been oblivious to the scrutiny leveled his way as a result (h/t Chicago Sun-Times):
I don’t read anything you guys put out, so I don’t know. And I don’t care. I know I’m playing pretty good football...Whatever. There’s scrutiny because at my position you can’t do anything right. ...The only thing you can do is negative, so I don’t care. People are going to scrutinize. People are going to [say] some negative stuff. It is what it is.
The issue here is Carimi has been horrible and fails to realize it. In the nine games leading up to the Bears showdown with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in Week 12, Carimi had been flagged the most on the team with eight penalties, not to mention the countless pressures he has surrendered.
To be fair, Carimi is still new to the league, after a knee injury and two surgeries wiped out most of his rookie season. There's still plenty of time for him to develop, and offensive line coach Mike Tice insists his move from left to right tackle was not a result of his bad play (h/t ESPN):
Here's the thing with Gabe and Gabe knows this so I'm not speaking out of turn: Gabe plays really hard. I told you guys when we moved to the right side that Gabe, not to insult him, is not the type of athlete I see that should be on the left side. When Gabe's plays are ugly, they're ugly because of that reason. He wants to kill guys.
The praise from Tice means a lot, but after a 10-game sample, it has become clear that Carimi isn't the talent the Bears thought he was when the organization made him such a high selection in 2011.
While the entire line has worked to protect Cutler and has even allowed him to suffer a concussion, Carimi currently stands out as the player struggling the most this season.
The Bears need to rebuild the offensive line, and if Carimi doesn't show something in the final six games of the season, he needs to be one of the first players cut loose. He's battled injuries, sure, but he's also had to switch positions and has still failed to improve.
Both tackle positions are extremely important in the NFL, and Carimi is letting the team down on the right side. He's correct in that we only speak about offensive linemen when they perform badly, but we've been speaking about Carimi a heck of a lot this season.
The Bears have to be considering moving on from Carimi at this point. He's a standout along one of the league's worse offensive lines, and that's not a good thing.
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