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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Bears appear ready to tab Edwin Williams

By Michael C. Wright

Roberto Garza
Roberto Garza won't have Chris Williams on his left again this season as Edwin Williams may step in.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It appears the Chicago Bears plan to start Edwin Williams at left guard in place of Chris Williams on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

With Chris Williams on the injured reserve with a dislocated wrist, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler explained the situation bluntly, and emphasized the team can't afford a drop off with a new starter in the lineup.

"It's not going to be easy," Cutler said. "Edwin's going to step in there and do a really good job. Chris was playing at a high level, and we can't miss a beat; especially not in November and December."

Stepping into the starting lineup shouldn't be a major adjustment for Edwin Williams, who started three consecutive games last season in place of current right guard Lance Louis.

Despite the Bears losing two of those three games and Cutler suffering 10 sacks in two of them, Matt Forte gained 166 yards on 22 attempts in Edwin Williams' first start -- an Oct. 10 victory at Carolina -- which ranked as a career high for the running back.

"He did some good things [in 2010]. He wasn't ready completely, but that was a year ago," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Since then he has made a lot of progress. We feel comfortable putting him out there."

Walking off the field after Wednesday's practice, Williams declined to speak to reporters. The backup guard also never came into the locker room during the open period in which media members are allowed access.

Cutler said the team will "have to be careful what we do with [Williams]," and that center Roberto Garza "will have to talk to him a lot."

The quarterback considers Edwin Williams to be of the same athletic mold as Chris Williams, but "just doesn't have that experience."

"So we're going to have to catch him up in a quick four- to five-day span, and get him ready to roll," Cutler said. "We can't limit what we're doing or what we're trying to do because of one guy. Everyone gets injured in this league, and at some point someone else has to step in and fill that role. Edwin's going to have to do that for us."