Spencer to start at guard on Sunday

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice smiled when a reporter claimed Chris Spencer "played well" at right guard last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

"Who said he played well? Did you say he played well? Am I on record saying he played well?" Tice joked. "I'm only kidding. We won the game so they had to do something pretty good."

With Lance Louis expected to sit out on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints due a sprained ankle, Spencer will get the nod at right guard after handling the first-team reps at practice. A seven-year NFL veteran, Spencer made 70 career starts while a member of the Seattle Seahawks, but only a handful were at guard. Plus, the Bears offense is still somewhat new to Spencer, who signed a two-year deal on July 31.

"There are going to be some things, like there were in the game, where he's just not... not even talking about guard or center... he's just not used to our stuff yet," Tice acknowledged. "You have to play in a system before you are comfortable in a system. Whether he plays center or guard, he's going to have some of those plays. We have to take that into consideration with him.

"At the same time, he's an experienced guy. He's played a lot of games. He's played games at center, he's played games at right guard and I thought [Wednesday] he fit in nicely. He fits in with the group real well, he's one of the guys. I look for him to get better each day this week and [I] feel good about it."

Unlike the days leading up to the regular season opener, Spencer will have a full week’s worth of practice reps at guard before taking the field on Sunday in the Superdome. As is the case every game, protecting Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be vital if the club wants to begin the year 2-0. Although the Saints only registered two sacks in their Week 1 loss at Green Bay, New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is expected to dial up the pressure and test the new parts on the Bears offensive line.

"For the most part, offense-wise I'm good. It's just learning all the small things at guard," Spencer said Thursday. "I think it'll just take time but it's nice I got this week to get a lot of reps at guard and by game time I should be good.

"The most important thing is communication. We all need to know who we have to block. That's the key."