Mike Tice is confident that the Bears won't experience a dropoff with Edwin Williams starting for the injured Chris Williams.
The team placed Chris Williams on the injured reserve Monday after he suffered a dislocated left wrist in the win Sunday over the Detroit Lions, and moved Edwin Williams into the starting lineup.
Tice expects Edwin Williams to experience a few hiccups, but ultimately he’ll “do a great job for us,” the coach said.
“A lot of people in this building felt like he had one of the better preseasons of all the guys [on the offensive line],” Tice said. “He’ll be fine. The biggest thing is the continuity and not being in there with the guys. The thing is working with the stunts, working with the combination blocks; not having done it a lot. That continuity of [having been in] those two-man combinations [is what he lacks].”
That should come soon enough, however.
Edwin Williams started three games last season, and at the time offensive coordinator Mike Martz felt the two-year veteran wasn’t ready to contribute in such a role. Since then, Tice said Edwin Williams “made a lot of strides.”
“He’s changed how he’s striking guys with his hands,” Tice said. “He’s higher with his hands, and as powerful as he is, that’s a plus. He’s compact and powerful. His footwork is nice and tight right now.”
As a pass blocker, Edwin Williams is believed to possibly be an upgrade over Chris Williams because of his strength and explosive hand punch. While Tice wouldn't take the comparison there, the coach considers the players vastly different in terms of physical attributes.
Tice said Chris Williams is “smart as crap; a superior athlete for his size,” who “can run” and is “real good at change of direction.” That ability to move allowed Chris Williams to excel in pulling situations and blocks that put him in space against defenders.
That could be an area of concern for Edwin Williams, who Tice called “smart, compact and powerful.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how he does in space; how he does with the pulling schemes and all those things we do,” Tice said.