Chicago Bears Tackle Needs Crash Course or Jay Cutler Needs Crash Helmet

Gene ChamberlainCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2010

BOURBONNAIS, IL - JULY 30: Chirs Williams #74 of the Chicago Bears works out during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on July 30, 2010 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

LAKE FOREST, Ill | The Bears are trying to teach Chris Williams to play left tackle without the training wheels, but he's still falling.

Coaches had to answer for Williams' abilities Tuesday after he allowed three of the four sacks given up to Oakland's Kamerion Wimbley on Saturday.

“I think with Chris it’s an aberration," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "I see him every day out here. I don’t know what happened to him. When I look at him on tape, the technique and everything is just not who he is. I know (offensive line coach) Mike Tice has talked with him and they worked through that. But a young tackle will go through that, and he has to fortunately experience that in the preseason.

"Imagine if that was a regular-season game."


It's not a very pleasant.

"He’s a professional," said Cutler, who played with Williams at Vanderbilt. "He’s been in the league long enough, he knows what we expect out of him, which is very big things. He’s our left tackle, he’s a first-round pick.

"I’ve played with him many years now so he knows all our expectations are high and I don’t think anyone has higher expectations for Chris than himself."

Martz admitted part of the problem is that they gave no help to Williams Saturday, when he made Wimbley look like a version of Lawrence Taylor, pre-drugs and pre-prostitutes.

It's often said that Martz's offense leaves his tackles stranded on an island without much help, while his quarterbacks are dropping seven steps every time. It all makes for easy prey for pass rushers.

Considering Martz's last seven offenses have finished sixth or higher in most sacks allowed, there is at least some reason for concern.

Still, he suggests the thought that his offense always leaves tackles blocking without a back or tight end to help is overstated.

"That's a very small percentage of what we do, just having those five (offensive linemen) block," Martz said. "We don't do very much of that.

"You slide, you turn, you chip, you double chip, there's so many ways."

In fact, the Bears' offensive coordinator suggested that if this had been the regular season, he would have had a back or tight end helping Williams. His offense has 37 different pass protections so there is something in there for every occasion.

"You have to carry a lot of protections because you really think you know what the other guys are going to do, but sometimes you don’t know what they’re going to do and you have to have ways to adjust to that," line coach Mike Tice said.

"There's all kinds of ways of doing it," Martz added. "We're not hamstrung in any fashion."

It's just that in preseason, the idea is to let the linemen work on fundamentals.

"What we want to do is put those guys out there on air against real good players and have them learn how to pass block and do it," Martz said. "In the event that we get a big dog (pass rusher) over there that we've got to take care of, we know how to do that."

Williams played five games at left tackle last year, so it has been assumed he can handle the position.

"It was a little unsettling because that’s not Chris," Martz said. "If I felt like that’s who he was, yeah, that would be very unsettling. But I don’t believe that’s the case."

The training wheels come off Sept. 12. If Williams can't pedal on his own by then, someone needs to start thinking about Kevin Shaffer.

Either that, or Jay Cutler might need to start wearing a couple of flak jackets.