J’Marcus Webb has yet to play 16 NFL games. He’s the Bears’ starting left offensive tackle.
Chris Williams has played enough games for me to think he’s a bust. He’s the Bears’ starting left guard.
Lance Louis has played four pro games, not zero as I wrote erroneously earlier. He's the Bears' starting right guard.
Gabe Carimi has never even been through an NFL training camp, so forget about taking an actual pro snap. He’s the Bears’ starting right tackle.
That’s Mike Tice’s offensive line. That’s the foundation of the protection for a quarterback coming off a knee injury.
“Unless they falter,’’ Tice said, “that’s who’s opening the season against Atlanta.’’
And if Tice is wrong, if they falter, Jay Cutler might not be upright to finish August.
Which makes you wonder why Tice would want to wipe out competition in training camp.
One way to interpret Tice’s statement is that he has a first string and if all five play well, they’ll keep their spots. Just like everywhere else.
But Tice didn’t say it like everywhere else. He didn’t say he has five starters but they’re being pushed, which creates fear and provides motivation, two of any coach’s four major food groups. That sends the message that there’s competition.
But Tice didn’t send that message. In fact, Tice sent the opposite message. He stated that “there’s no competition.’’ Who eliminates competition in training camp?
Especially when Williams is involved.
And a rookie on one end.
And another inexperienced player next to him.
Tice calls that his starting right side. Clay Matthews Jr. and Ndamukong Suh call it the express lane.
This is a crazy statement. Tice made his declaration sternly and with a hint of the way Lovie Smith can wag the big verbal finger.
But Tice isn’t crazy. Mike Martz is crazy. Martz is crazy stubborn with his offense, or maybe crazy delusional that it can work here despite the Bears’ many wrong or missing parts.
Tice, though, has always seemed like a realist. Honest, or as honest as coaches feel they’re allowed to be. So, what’s Tice’s motive for essentially eliminating conventional coaching motivation?