NFL Preview: Chicago Bears O-Line vs. Detroit Lions, Ndamukong Suh
Starting right tackle rookie Gabe Carimi will miss another game due to knee injury. Banged up backups Lance Louis (ankle), Chris Spencer (broken hand) and Frank Omiyale (false start syndrome) will have to fill in at guard and tackle.
And that leaves Coaches Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Moe to come up with a solution.
Plugging the Holes
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So far, the plan out of Halas Hall is to let Spencer or Louis start at right guard. And Louis or Omiyale will start at right tackle.
Frankly, it sounds like the Bears would prefer Louis to play right guard and right tackle.
Offensive line coach Mike Tice said Omiyale simply needs to play better. "You try to minimize the amount of bad plays you have in succession," Tice said. "So that's what we're trying to do with Frank is we're trying to keep his bad plays to sporadic, as opposed to back to back."
As for Chris Spencer, it appears he’s ready to play despite a swollen and broken hand that will be in a cast at game time.
“By the end of this week, I’ll be ready to go, punch and stuff like that,” he said. “Just waiting for the swelling to go down a little bit…I don’t even know how to explain [playing in a cast] because I’ve done it so many times. It is what it is. Just go out and play.”
‘‘We’ll have five guys out there; I promise you that,’’ Tice laughed. ‘‘And I won’t be one of them, so we’ve got a chance.’’
Chicago simply doesn’t have many options on the front line.
Name a team with extra offensive linemen sitting around. There are no players and no pity to be found.
Welcome to the NFL.
Pulling It Together
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They have to develop continuity together, letting a group of five guys work to form a single, disciplined wall of protection. Tice believes it can work, and he's done it before with the Minnesota Vikings.
But with injures taking their toll, the Chicago unit has had little time to come together except during meetings and team dinners.
And the Bears O-line should prepare for the Detroit D-line by hitting more than the buffet line.
Detroit boasts some serious talent in their defensive front already with Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. The Bears are lucky Nick Fairley is just now returning to practice. It seems unlikely he’ll be ready to play a full game on Monday night. That’s good news for the Bears; They need a break that doesn’t injure another lineman. But it still leaves plenty to worry about.
Gearing up to face Lions defensive star Ndamukong Suh, Bears RG/RT Lance Louis was respectful of his opponent.
“He’s a good player,” said Louis. “But every week, you’re going to line up against somebody like that. He’s human. He puts his pants on one leg at a time like everybody else. You’ve got to go out there and play your game. You can’t worry about the guy across from you. You’ve got to go execute your technique and the play that’s called. It’s the NFL. Everybody is strong inside.”
Like Coach Tice said, "At a certain point, guys have got to earn their checks.”
Considering the Bears offensive line, there should be plenty of opportunities.