There might not be any jobs definitively won by some young Chicago Bears offensive linemen tonight.
But there could be some jobs lost. That’s for sure.
Right guard Lance Louis and left tackle J’Marcus Webb have big tests before them as the team prepares to face the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium in a nationally televised game.
Louis was strong for the first two weeks of training camp but stumbled in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills and was uneven in practice last week. Webb was dominated by Shawne Merriman in the game, allowing two sacks and a pressure that caused a third sack.
There’s a quick replacement for Louis, who the Bears want to give a long look at because he’s 6-3, 320 pounds. The club wants to be bigger up front to better handle the large defensive linemen they have to face in the NFC North. If Louis falters, it’s expected Chris Spencer, the Seattle Seahawks castoff that was signed to replace Olin Kreutz, will be inserted at center with Roberto Garza kicking over to his more natural right guard position.
The solution isn’t as simple at left tackle is Webb struggles again. He’s facing Jason Pierre-Paul, who was outstanding last week against Carolina Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross. If Webb – who started 12 games at right tackle last season – doesn’t hold up the only option right now is to use Frank Omiyale. The Bears saw him at left tackle last season and want an upgrade.
This is where quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked an NFL record nine times in the first half of a regular-season game a year ago. The pressure is on the Bears’ line to perform and more than pride is at stake.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune