CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite Gabe Carimi’s demotion this week, Bears analyst Tom Thayer said he believes the second-year offensive tackle “is going to have a bright NFL career.”
Carimi was benched this week, following the team’s dismal performance in a 32-7 loss to the 49ers on Monday night, when the Bears gave up 6 sacks, 5.5 of them by Aldon Smith.
In an interview with WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Kerner on Friday, Thayer said he’s confident Carimi can still have a successful career.
“Gabe has got a bright future,” Thayer said. “He just has to take a step backwards; get some strength so he can take on a stronger player, and get in a good football position. … I think Gabe is going to have a bright NFL career.”
LISTEN: Full Interview With Tom Thayer
Veteran Jonathan Scott will start at right tackle in Carimi’s place on Sunday against the Vikings.
Thayer said fans shouldn’t expect Scott to dominate on the offensive line, but said “He’s definitely got size. He’s got good feet.”
“He’s been waiting for this opportunity to get on the field, and be more of a contributor than just in those big packages, or the short-yardage program,” Thayer said. “He’s gonna have to be both mentally and physically prepared, and then making sure that you know all your assignments, and that you fit in, and you contribute.”
Thayer said it should help Scott that the Bears are playing at home, so he won’t have to worry about a lot of crowd noise while he’s listening to the snap count.
That said, if the Bears are going to get back on track offensively, Thayer said the team will need Scott’s best effort.
As for the other change on the offensive line this week, when Chris Spencer will reclaim his starting spot at left guard, after Chilo Rachal was placed on the non-football injury reserve list, Thayer said Spencer understands his job is hardly secure, noting Spencer lost his starting job to Rachal earlier in the year.
“Chris Spencer’s got plenty of experience, he understands what his assignments are. He understands what the undertaking is now, after making a change from Chris Spencer to Chilo Rachal, now back to Chris Spencer,” he said. “It’s gonna be something that will be under evaluation and scrutiny week in and week out.”
Thayer said fans shouldn’t worry about the Bears having three losses.
“Just worry about the Bears improving as a football team, and then the losses will be behind us,” he said.
Thayer didn’t offer a prediction for Sunday’s game against the Vikings, but said the offense and defense both have to perform better than they have recently.
“Jay Cutler and the football team, the offense has to find a rhythm. The defense has to play better. They’ve got to play fundamentally more sound, especially against a guy like Adrian Peterson,” he said.