By all accounts, one of the Chicago Bears' most pressing needs this offseason was more talent along the offensive line.
And by all accounts, the Bears have done little to instill hope amongst their fans that they've addressed the issue thus far in free agency.
The Chicago Sun Times reported the Bears did not express interest in the top free-agent linemen like Jared Gaither, Eric Winston or Levi Brown, and during this week's NFL Annual Meeting, the front office backed the players they already have at the position.
“I’m very encouraged,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said, via the newspaper. “We have two young players at offensive tackle that are both very talented. Both are big, physical players. They’re the kind of players that you’re looking for.”
The Bears spent first picks on offensive linemen in the 2008 and 2011 drafts (guard Chris Williams and tackle Gabe Carimi), but both missed extensive time last season and the Bears finished last in the league in protecting the quarterback for a second straight season, according to the Sun Times.
One player who struggled in particular was second-year tackle J’Marcus Webb, who allowed 12 sacks last season.
“There are some things you have to do to help him out a little bit more at times, which we plan to do,” Smith said. “So you can make a case and throw out stats on what he did.”