BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice confirmed what most had already suspected: J'Marcus Webb (left) and Gabe Carimi (right) have secured the club's starting offensive tackle positions until further notice.
"As far as left and right tackle is concerned; we're going to go with Webb and Carimi for now," Tice said. "Gabe's knee is really going to come around. We're going to still evaluate the games and if one guy in a back up role steps up and has a great game, then we'll re-evaluate that."
Webb and veteran lineman Chris Williams spent the first handful of training camp workouts alternating days with the first team until Webb eventually began taking all the first-team reps last week with Williams starting to spell Carimi at right tackle. Carimi is still working his way back from a knee injury that forced him to miss almost all of his rookie campaign and required to procedures to correct. Webb started all 16 contests at left tackle last year after he made 12 starts at right tackle his rookie season.
"I thought that one guy would separate himself and really jump out there," Tice said. "I don't think that's really happened. So for me, let's keep status quo and see where the games take us. I'm not in a rush to change for change's sake. We hope that a guy in his third year, Webb, will step up and mature as a football player and as a person...will get better, as show us this means something to him.'
"At the same time, we know that Carimi is a very good player, it was just a matter of how long it was going to take for him to bounce back from the injury. He had a rough start [to camp] but it seemed to settle down. He told me he feels about 80 percent better. That's a good thing. He's put together four good practices in a row."
For Williams, the switch to right tackle only a few days into camp essentially ended his bid to unseat Webb on the left side. Tice explained the motives behind the move.
"With Gabe's knee being sore a week ago, we had to get somebody over there with some experience to take some reps off of Gabe. He was in a little bit of a bad way there for a couple of days. We took some reps off of him which seemed to have worked. That kind of [interfered] with the competition. That's just the way it is. You got to play the hand you're dealt. You're dealt that hand, you make a decision, and you have to go with it. I wasn't going to put [young offensive tackles] James Brown or Cory Brandon over there to protect Jay Cutler. We have enough trouble doing it with the ones."
Center Roberto Garza, right guard Lance Louis and left guard Chris Spencer round out the Bears' first team offensive line, which is expected to see action Thursday night when the team opens up preseason play at home versus the Denver Broncos.