Thursday, September 22, 2011
Source: Bears considering Levi Horn
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Depth concerns along the offensive line might force the Chicago Bears to dig deep into the roster to find capable backups for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.
If Lance Louis isn't ready Sunday, Levi Horn could get his shot on the Bears' offensive line.
The club could even take a dip into its practice squad, according to a source that indicated Wednesday the Bears are strongly considering promoting practice squad tackle Levi Horn to the active roster, adding the move could take place by the end of the week, depending on the availability of right guard Lance Louis, who has been limited at practice all week due to a sprained right ankle.
The team continues to closely monitor the progress of Louis. If Louis' sore ankle improves enough for him to play against the Packers, the Bears won't need to promote Horn. But if it doesn't, the team will likely make the move.
Signed as an undrafted rookie by the Bears in 2010, Horn spent the majority of last season on the practice squad.
Given the uncertain status of Louis, and the right kneecap subluxation suffered last week by Gabe Carimi that will keep him out for an extended period, the Bears -- should they decline to add personnel to the active roster -- could enter Sunday's matchup against the Packers with six healthy linemen, which means five starters, and only one reserve. That wouldn't be an ideal situation for a team currently leading the league in sacks allowed (11) after the first two weeks of the season.
"Everybody that's on our roster, in our mind is a future starter," said offensive coordinator Mike Martz, when questioned about depth concerns up front. "We don't have backups. That's how we look at our guys. We look at them all as starters. It's just their opportunity to step up and play well, and be excited that they have that opportunity. We're disappointed the opportunity is there. That means somebody got hurt. But we're also excited these guys who have been waiting for an opportunity like this get a chance."
Listed in the team's media guide as a tackle, Horn also spent time with the Bears working at guard. Horn played with the second team offense in the preseason, and drew praise from offensive line coach Mike Tice for his vast improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 with the team. Because Horn can play either inside or outside, the Bears could use him as a potential backup at two positions.
Asked whether Louis would be available for Sunday's contest, Tice said, "I don't know, he's trying. When Lance comes back we'll find a place for him to play."