Bears Working Hard on the Interior Offensive Line. Offensive Tackle Still an Area for Improvement.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reports on the signing of free agent guard/centers Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen.

“The addition of Ramirez and Larsen effectively replaces Will Montgomery and Vladimir Ducasse from a year ago. It’s expected the Bears will give Hroniss Grasu, the third-round pick from a year ago, the first opportunity to claim the starting center job. If he falters, they have two experienced options in place and a potential backup for guards Kyle Long and Matt Slauson.”

Given that Montgomery spent most of last season on IR and that Ducasse left a lot to be desired at guard, each of these signings at once both upgrades the depth and creates legitimate competition for spots along the interior of the offensive line.

However, you now have to wonder if quite a bit of work is left to create the same sort of situation at offensive tackle. Recent signing Bobby Massie is penciled in at right tackle and represents an upgrade not so much because of his own abilities as that because it moves of Long back to guard. We’ll have to wait until the team hits the field to know for sure but Massie leaves a lot to be desired in pass protection by reputation.

Similarly Charles Leno was a pleasant surprise last year on the left but there’s little guarantee that he’ll take the next step and go from adequate to good or great.

The most promising back up possibility is Tayo Fabuluje, a massive raw talent that will need to show that he has developed a great deal to justify the back up spot, let alone compete with either starter.

The lack of activity at offensive tackle is by no means alarming and there’s plenty of time to find alternatives. But it does make you wonder if the team doesn’t see the possibility of taking one reasonably high in the draft, perhaps Ronnie Staley or Jack Conklin.

Generally speaking, what the Bears do in the next month will tell us a lot about what they see as the direction the draft may take them in.

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