This is not Olin Kreutz’ Chicago Bears offensive line anymore… for more than a decade, in fact, the 14-year veteran center (who just retired from the sport) was a recognized team leader, along with Urlacher on defense.
Olin Kreutz, 6-2, 292, Washington U. alumnus and former Bears team leader at center, has called it quits after 14 years of stellar line play…Kreutz had signed with the Saints for 2011 but announced his retirement in October, citing a “loss of passion for the game”… The Eagles will still have to face efficient run-blocker Robert Garza at guard (11th year, Texas A&M-Kingsville)…but there will be some new and younger faces on the Bears O-Line come Monday night…
So it is written…the advent of the post-Kreutz era careers of a bunch of 2nd-year and 3rd-year Bears linemen, including a rookie by the name of Gabe Carimi, the much discussed #1 Draft pick for the Bears from Wisconsin…talked a lot about during draft season here, anyway, as a lot of our Bored members desired Carimi for the Eagles.
I did some snooping around the Chicago area blabs and blogs and came away with these takes:
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Lovie Smith on the possibility that Gabe Carimi might start at right tackle Monday:
‘‘’We don’t have to make any of those decisions yet,’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘We’ll let him tell us exactly how far he’s come along. [He] looked good today, looked good last week. I assume we’ll have him available, and we love making those kinds of choices later in the week.’”
Smith might claim to not have to make that decision and he is technically right. But that’s deceptive since someone has to be designated to take the first team reps this week.
Current right tackle Lance Louis seems to block with an attitude and he looks like a pretty good blocker in pass protection. But Carimi looks like a bigger and better run blocker. I doubt that the noise level at Lincoln Financial will match that in that dome in Detroit, where I’d hate to put a guy in his first game back. Give that to be the case, I’d start a healthy Carimi at right tackle and move Louis back to guard.
- Having said that, Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t think we’ll see right tackle Carimi play Monday.
- Neither does Jeff Dickerson at ESPN Chicago.
- Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribune points out that the Bears might more chances than the usual to generate turnovers Monday night:
“As always, the game will come down to how well the Bears can play on defense and special teams. The Eagles want to score on big plays and make teams throw against their pass rush. The Bears need to counter by taking the ball away. Michael Vick has been a fumbling machine and stellar running back LeSean McCoy also keeps the ball away from his body.
“‘That is something we have noticed,’ cornerback Tim Jennings said. “That’s the style they run and (McCoy) feels comfortable when he gets hit, he’s tucking it. He’s not fumbling, but it’s out there. It’s out there so we are going to take our shots.”’
- Potash also quotes Bears safety Chris Conte on whether his former California teammate DeSean Jackson will be surprised to see him in an opposing uniform:
“‘He’ll be surprised when I hit him,’ Conte said with a laugh.”
- We also have this interesting tidbit from Potash:
“With long runs from [Matt] Forte (22 and 32 yards) and Marion Barber (29 yards), the Bears had touchdown drives of 81 and 79 yards against the Buccaneers. That gave them six touchdown drives of 79 yards or longer this season. In 2010, they had four all season.”
I’ll close before a break with this observation from our own Eagle Nut:
“Chicago, from what I’ve seen from them this season, wins with their defense—and a few big plays from their offense. If the Eagles can bottle up Matt Forte, and not kick the ball to Devin Hester, then the Eagles only need to unleash Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Trevor Laws and the rest of our star-studded D-Line…and it won’t matter who’s playing offensive line for the Bears. It’s Jay Cutler behind a makeshift offensive line, anyway you look at it. I use this term very loosely, but it should be “easy” to control the Bears’ offensive line…it should be interesting to watch, to say the least…”