Hoge: Depth Already Being Tested On Offensive Line
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By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — It’s an all too common theme with the Chicago Bears, but their depth on the offensive line is already being tested in training camp.
Just one practice removed from left tackle Jermon Bushrod suffering a minor calf injury, his replacement, Jonathan Scott, went down with what the team is calling “knee soreness”.
That left Eben Britton, who had been working primarily as the No. 2 left guard in camp, filling in as a the No. 1 left tackle during Wednesday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University.
“That’s what football is all about,” Britton said. “Guys might go down and you just have to be ready to step in there and get the job done just as well as the 1-guys are.”
Bushrod stood on the sidelines Wednesday with a walking boot still on his right leg and the Bears will likely be cautious with him considering how important he is to the offensive line. Scott struggled Monday filling in at left tackle, and while Britton was better Wednesday, the Bears need Bushrod on the field to anchor Jay Cutler’s blindside.
Meanwhile, the fact that the coaching staff went to Britton — and even Cory Brandon for a little while — to fill in at left tackle instead of moving J’Marcus Webb back to the left side, means that unless disaster strikes, Webb’s days as the Bears’ left tackle are likely over.
Someone to watch further down the depth chart, however, is fifth-round draft pick Jordan Mills. He has worked behind Webb as the No. 2 right tackle for the last two practices, and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer has liked what he’s seen from the rookie.
“This year’s draft class is good, with Kyle (Long) and Jordan Mills,” Kromer said. “Those two guys have really stepped it up on these first three days, just learning the system. We look forward to seeing what they can do.”
Meanwhile, on the inside, there was some shuffling at guard Wednesday as well. James Brown frequently rotated from right guard to left guard with the ones, leaving Matt Slauson with the second unit. Part of that was likely a result of Britton taking reps at tackle instead of guard, but it also points to the Bears making sure Brown has reps on the left side should Long win the starting right guard job.
The way the Bears are approaching the offensive line battle is much different from last year when Mike Tice named his starters in the first week of camp. Marc Trestman and Kromer are trying a number of different things and don’t appear to be in a hurry to name the starting offensive line.
“Our goal is to find the best five,” Kromer said. “When we find the best five, it’ll be obvious. Whether we put them at left guard, right guard, whoever they are, we’ll find them. And we don’t control when that’ll happen. It’ll just happen.”
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.