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For now, Bears offensive coaches content to evaluate on film

But they're eager to set up practice competitions to see what they have when pads are on

Fred Mitchell

8:44 PM CST, February 15, 2013

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Observers of the Bears' offensive-line struggles over the last few years probably have seen enough to demand immediate personnel changes — unless they have been somewhere north of the border.

Several of the new Bears coaches — including coach Marc Trestman and assistant offensive line coach Pat Meyer — have been in Canada, so, eh, they say they're willing to give the beleaguered unit a chance to impress on the practice field.

"We're still in that evaluation process," Trestman said Thursday. "So it's still premature to talk in those terms."

The new coaches apparently are looking for a heretofore hidden combination of skill, desire and technique among the incumbent linemen. In the meantime, general manager Phil Emery no doubt will be searching for upgrades through the draft and free agency.

"Confidence is huge. I mean, it really is," Meyer said. "We're all zero-and-zero. Everybody's confidence should be high coming in. It's a new staff; it's going to be exciting to see how it works out."

Starting left tackle J'Marcus Webb has taken the brunt of criticism. Former Bears offensive coordinator and line coach Mike Tice pushed to have the organization select Webb in the seventh round of the 2010 draft out of West Texas A&M.

Webb sprinkled in several very respectable games last season as the focus seemed to shift to the erratic play of right tackle Gabe Carimi, a first-round choice out of Wisconsin in 2011. Because of injuries, demotions and overall ineffectiveness, the Bears entire offensive line predictably became a tag-team effort that lacked consistent cohesiveness and field discipline.

Meyer says, in general, the overall performance of an offensive line can be misinterpreted because of extenuating circumstances.

"When the team plays good and everyone says: 'Oh, what a great job the offensive line did,' … that's not always the case," Meyer said. "And it's the same way the other way, too. It's a little bit in-between. That's why we're here to work with them and fix the problems we had before and continue to grow their strengths."

The Bears offensive staff seems to be on the same page when it comes to evaluating players patiently and objectively, as well as devising blocking schemes to create the best results.

"It will be an inside-zone, a gap scheme … we'll use all the schemes and try to keep it balanced and the defense off guard," new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said.

"As coaches, obviously this is a brand new staff," Meyer said. "I know coach Trestman from being with him at N.C. State and at Montreal (as Alouettes offensive coordinator) last year. I know what kind of mind he has and how he stresses protection. There's always going to be different ways of doing things. We haven't even talked about any of that. All we've done is evaluate talent (on film). … But there is a certain way to do anything with the talent you have."

Kromer says he's looking forward to making personnel determinations through challenging practice sessions.

"You try to set up a competitive nature and a competitive situation in practice where you can determine who you feel — when it's crunch time — is going to make the play or make the block that you need.

"And then you put them in the game and do the same thing. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, as players and coaches. That's how we gauge and that's how we evaluate."

fmitchell@tribune.com

Twitter @kicker34