Thursday, October 6, 2011
Tice ponders OL plan vs. Lions
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice could go a couple of different routes on the right side of the line Monday night in Detroit.
Chris Spencer's status is key to the Bears' plans along the offensive line against the Lions.
The Bears used a variety of combinations up front in the Week 4 win over the Carolina Panthers, starting the contest with Frank Omiyale at right tackle and Chris Spencer at right guard. Spencer, however, suffered a fractured right hand in the first half against the Panthers, which forced Tice to put Louis at right guard until halftime.
But Spencer was able to return to right guard in the second half, so Tice benched Omiyale and instead moved Louis outside to right tackle. The combination played the majority of the second half, although Omiyale rotated in from time to time when Louis was announced as a tackle-eligible tight end.
Louis put 10 Carolina players on the ground in 41 snaps, according to Tice.
"Stay tuned," Tice said. "It's a national television game. Everybody is going to find out at the same time. We're working some combinations. I'll sit down with Lovie [Smith] towards the end of the week, and I'll suggest the lineup I think gives us the best opportunity.
"We don't want to count Spencer out. We're not going to count out the other two guys, they've both started, Frank and Lance, and then we'll get the best five guys we got in there and have at it."
The key to the whole equation is the health of Spencer, who practiced on a limited basis on Thursday. It's unclear how much of a hindrance his broken hand -- which was heavily bandaged during practice -- would be against Detroit's defensive line, a group Tice called the "best front we've played all year." If Spencer isn't available to face the Lions, the Bears could again turn to Omiyale at right tackle, and slide Louis back to right guard.
"Chris is playing pretty good ball," Tice said. "We're hoping he can make strides. He's had the injury before, so he knows how to handle it. I thought he did a nice job in the game of coming back in and sucking it up and trying to play with good technique. So, we'll see how the week progresses. That is an option. To get Chris in there and try and keep some kind of continuity.
"We'll have five guys out there, I promise you," Tice said. "One of them won't be me, so we'll have a chance."