Webb promising but question looms

May, 25, 2010
5/25/10
3:04
PM ET
Early reviews from Chicago Bears minicamp indicated what most already knew about rookie tackle J’Marcus Webb.

He possesses prototypical size, and natural athleticism, yet offensive line coach Mike Tice points out one simple but striking deficiency in the rookie’s game.

“What he needs to understand is what it takes to get better,” Tice said. “What it takes to get better, first and foremost, is to accept coaching. Then he’s got to take that coaching, go out and work on his trade.”

Considered a project player coming out of West Texas A&M, Webb seemed to draw criticism from talent evaluators for what they considered questionable work ethic, a lack of intelligence, and undesirable comportment at the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game practices.

One Southwest region evaluator from an NFC team said he visited the campus of West Texas A&M on multiple occasions prior to the draft to see Webb -- who was never available -- causing the scout to question whether the tackle had issues with accountability.

“It felt to me like the folks out there always covered for him,” the scout said.

Such coddling isn’t likely to occur for Webb in the NFL, which is a point that Tice is likely driving home to the rookie. A dominating run blocker who cracked the starting lineup at Texas before transferring to West Texas A&M, Webb started 11 of 12 games at left tackle for the Buffalos. West Texas A&M played games against two top-ranked teams (Grand Valley State and Abilene Christian, which both spent time ranked No. 1 last season), No. 6 Central Washington, No. 7 Tarleton State and No. 10 Texas A&M-Kingsville, and Webb gave up just one sack all season.

“He’s got a world of talent,” Tice said. “He’s been blessed with size, quickness. He’s smart; scored nearly 1,300 on the SAT. Once he learns to accept coaching and what it takes to get better, I think he’s got a bright future in this league.”

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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