Garza's return vs. Bills will force change

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
1:09
PM ET


LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Although the offensive line fared much better in the second half of Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Washington Redskins, the Bears may be forced to alter the starting five once again when veteran guard Roberto Garza returns from a knee injury.

Garza underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee October 15, and he is expected to be available when the Bears face the Buffalo Bills in Toronto following the bye, according to head coach Lovie Smith.

"Having another veteran guy in the mix, of course, will help our football team," Smith said. "When Roberto gets back healthy, we'll put him into the mix. Against Buffalo, the group we feel gives us the best chance to win will be out there."

Garza, who can play both left and right guard, gives the Bears several options on the offensive line. The 10-year veteran could easily slide back to his old spot at right guard, which would force Edwin Williams or Lance Louis out of the lineup, or perhaps the Bears opt to return Garza to left guard, and move Chris Williams back to his natural left tackle position. That decision would be the most complicated, since it would require Frank Omiyale to likely slide back over to right tackle, but it's hard to envision Williams being a long-term solution at guard, especially after he was manhandled by Albert Haynesworth Sunday.

Granted, Haynesworth is an elite defensive tackle, but Williams is built like an offensive tackle, not a guard, and it showed versus the Redskins.

Or maybe Williams finds himself on the bench.

All possibilities are expected to be discussed when the Bears perform their self-evaluation during the bye week.

"We are going to put the [offensive line] group together when everyone gets there, and when we show up for the Buffalo game, you guys will see then," Smith said. "I don't think it will help the Bears to go over exactly what we are going to do then, as you guys can understand."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He is also a talk-show host on ESPN 1000 and the ESPN Radio network.

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