Didn’t Take Long

It appears as though Kyle Long will now be mixed into the rotation for starting RG from now on in Bears Camp. It was clear to all who watched Friday night’s game that the right side of the Bears OL was in need of some change after the often-criticized Je’marcus Webb was tossed around by the Panthers Charles Johnson. Johnson’s one of the best pass rushers in the conference, but Webb was made to look especially bad. This has led Mike Tice and the rest of the coaching staff to try the first-rounder and rookie RTJordan Mills on that side. Webb was often a point of contention for the Bears OL, which was the worst in the NFL last year. The problem with Webb motivated Emery go out and sign big-ticket free agent Jermon Bushrod as well as to draft Kyle Long. The idea was that Bushrod would take over the blind side allowing for Webb to move back to his natural position. That hasn’t worked out and, as a result, TE Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame was taken just after Long. Many thought Eifert would be the pick, but the holes on the line proved to be too much for Emery to pass on Long.

Kyle Long has the pedigree; he’s the son of Raiders’ Hall of Famer Howie Long. In addition, Kyle’s brother Chris is the starting defensive end for the St. Louis Rams and was taken with the number two pick overall five years ago. Needless to say, Kyle can’t disappoint when given his opportunity to play regularly. That time is now, as Emery knows he and Trestman don’t have the time to mess around and try to rebuild with continuous high selections. The Bears’ fans are not in the mood to see their team sit in the bottom half of the North division for years on end. Jay Cutler’s in his contract year and it’s imperative for the coaching staff to see him on his feet for at least 14 or 15 games this year. This year Trestman and his staff clearly need to see how valuable Cutler is, and if he has the ability to lead this team to a Super Bowl berth as well as being worthy of a long-term extension.

The emergence of Long wasn’t unexpected either, and while Webb was the incumbent for the switch to the right side, the NFL is a young man’s league, and it’s not uncommon for a rookie to start on day one. Long’s slated as a RG, but the issue isn’t just the interior; it’s that whole side of the offense. The right side is where the run-blockers are usually, and with Long inserted early, it could give a spark to Forte and Bush’s productivity. The idea that Jordan Mills can be a serviceable starter shows what kind of things he’s showed Tice and his staff while down in Bourbonnais. If the Bears could keep Cutler on his feet for a full season now would be the time to show it. Cutler is approaching the most lucrative contract of his career and it’s imperative that he shrug off the injury questions and go out there and just sling it. Cutler has a great arm and now a lot of weapons with which to work with. That arm doesn’t work when he’s under duress nor when the staff doesn’t have confidence in the protection in front of him.

In the game Friday Night Cutler threw a lot of check downs to Forte that didn’t pick up a lot of yardage. In order for Trestman to open up the offense he’s got to be able to have confidence in his guys that Cutler’ll have the time to see the field, read the defense and deliver an accurate ball. All of which he’s more than capable of doing if given the time needed.