Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Scramble'11: Bears working O-line targets
By Kevin Seifert
Like the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears have been quiet from a public perspective during the first two days of free agency. But ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright offers a sketch of what the Bears have been up to behind the scenes.
Offensive line remains the Bears' top priority, and here's what Wright had to say:
For example, the Bears have made contact with Steelers tackle Willie Colon about the possibility of making a deal, according to an NFL source. But it's believed that Colon is actually more of a contingency plan for if the Bears are unable to land Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod.
Interestingly, though, the availability of Colon and Bushrod could potentially be determined by what happens in Atlanta with the Falcons trying to sign free-agent tackle Tyson Clabo, and guards Justin Blalock and Harvey Dahl. The Bears expressed interest in Clabo prior to the NFL draft, but obviously drafted Gabe Carimi in the first round.
Still, the team is interested in beefing up the offensive line because of the inexperience of Carimi and second-year man J'Marcus Webb, not to mention concern about the duo not being able to participate in a team-supervised offseason conditioning program. It's also worth keeping in mind that offensive line coach Mike Tice prefers to work with tackle types who can kick inside to guard.
If the Bears sign Bushrod or Colon, does that mean Carimi won't be a Week 1 starter? I don't know if we can answer that yet. Obviously he will start soon enough, presumably at one of the tackle positions.
So the Bears' line remains in flux pending the results of the next few days. The dominoes will really start to fall once center Olin Kreutz makes a decision. The Bears are working to re-sign him, but he has attracted attention from elsewhere and it's in no way a certainty that he will return to Chicago.