CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 28: (L-R) J'Marcus Webb #73 and Roberto Garza #63 of the Chicago Bears await the snap of Olin Kreutz #57 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on November 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Eagles 31-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** J'Marcus Webb; Roberto Garza; Olin Kreutz
Like it or not, Olin Kreutz will not be back to anchor the Bears offensive line this coming season. The Bears will have to move on from that fact quickly, because the first pre-season game is in less than two weeks, and regular season is in just over a month. What will the line that's supposed to protect Jay Cutler and open holes for Matt Forte look like now, and can they possibly be worse than a line that gave up 52 sacks last season?
Tackles: The men designated to protect the edges will likely be youngsters. Rookie Gabe Carimi and second-year player J'Marcus Webb will likely get the starting spots. Webb is expected to be on the left side, protecting Cutler's blind side. Frank Omiyale could be in the mix for either spot, but he doesn't have the size or the athleticism of Carimi and Webb.
Guards: The best guess would be for Chris Williams -- who falls down a lot -- and Roberto Garza to be lining up at guard, but Garza's experience at center complicates that. If he proves to be better at snap counts, calling blocking schemes and anchoring the line than the newly acquired Chris Spencer, then a spot at guard will open up. Lance Louis could fill in that spot.
Center: It's hard to believe that No. 57 won't be at center, but the Bears next most tenured lineman could take his spot. When Kreutz couldn't play, Garza filled in at center, and he has more experience than Spencer. At the same time, it would be a surprise to see the Bears sign Spencer just to put him on the second string.
The key for the Bears line is consistency, so the line coach Mike Tice needs to find a combination that works soon and stick with it. Perhaps they can surprise us all, and keep Cutler upright more often than not.