Training camp is finally almost here. They allow tackling there and everything. Around the League will count down the top 30 position battles to watch throughout the preseason.
No. 13: Chicago Bears left tackle
â¢ The offensive line of the Chicago Bears remains the messiest aspect of an otherwise promising attack. Quarterback Jay Cutler has been abused behind a front five that allowed him to be sacked 52 times in 2010 before giving up another 49 takedowns last season. The problem here begins at left tackle.
â¢ J'Marcus Webb started 16 games at the position in 2011, posting dubious numbers along the way. Let's start with his NFL-high 15 offensive penalties, per ESPN.com. Football Outsiders noted that Webb ranked second in the NFL with 11½ blown blocks that resulted in sacks or holding flags. Not a promising campaign.
â¢ As Webb enters his third season, he'll split training camp snaps with four-year veteran Chris Williams, who moves from guard to tackle. Williams is no savior. The former first-round draft pick is in the final year of his contract with one last chance to make an impact.
â¢ ESPN noted that you're not going to see as many seven-step drops in Chicago, which could cut down on the sacks allowed. The Bears, however, are moving players around to build competition at tackle without adding new talent to the line. Nothing has been frustrating more for Bears fans than signing a franchise quarterback, only to have him endure repeated beatings. This ended their season in 2011.
â¢Projected Winner: This appears to be Williams' job to lose. The four-year veteran was unimpressive during his stint at tackle in 2010, but Williams should be able to improve upon Webb's showing from a year ago. We're not thrilled with either option here, but that's the Bears' problem after failing to address this overt need.