John Mullin at CSNChicago.com argues that resigning center Roberto Garza makes the Bears offensive line unit better than the sum of its parts:
“…Garza has quietly become a player who makes players around him better. He has a comfort level with quarterback Jay Cutler, developed when the Bears and Olin Kreutz were parting ways in 2011. He is one reason why Kyle Long was a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie guard; Long himself gave Garza effusive praise for his work in Long’s development.”
I don’t have a problem with this signing. Even at age 35, Garza was probably their best option.
But having now decided to retain the entire offensive line with no changes, the Bears are leaving me with a vague sense of unease. My mind keeps wandering back to the Bears only exposure to the best division in football last year, the NFC West, in a loss to the Rams.
Despite media attention given to the teams in this division which emphasized other areas, there’s one major reason why these teams were significantly better than the rest of the league – they dominated the line of scrimmage. That includes the Bears game where the Rams under-rated front seven easily penetrated into the offensive backfield far too often in a 42-21 demolition. And the Rams were 7-9 and finished in last place.
I’m not necessarily arguing that the Bears did the wrong thing. The offensive line as it stands was reasonably solid. Long and right tackle Jordan Mills are young and may yet significantly improve. And they have a lot of needs on defense to fill with new personnel. The offensive line can’t take priority right now.
But even with all of this, I’m thinking that if the Bears really want to be elite, staying with the same personnel on the offensive line might not be a long-term option. Because good might not be good enough.