The organization went into free agency for a complete makeover of the line to center Roberto Garza’s left (tackle Jermon Bushrod, guard Matt Slauson) and used two of its first four draft choices to Garza’s right (guard Kyle Long, tackle Jordan Mills).
Indications from the Carolina and San Diego games are that the acquisitions have met and arguably exceeded expectations, at least on a player-by-player basis.
The point of offseason, training camp and preseason is to establish the collective, however, where the group thinks and reacts as one. With four new players out of five positions, plus a new scheme, even a road game in a hostile venue like Oakland is a solid pop quiz on the state of the bedrock of the offense.
“With the new offense, everybody’s kind of working their way through knowing everything that’s going on,” said offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer. “We need to catch up and keep working.”
The extended playing time should not be a stamina problem. Long and Mills have played more snaps through the preseason games than any other Bear and committed a combined just one penalty, a fourth-quarter hold by Mills.
Barring a rookie meltdown, the starting five is set. The swing guard (James Brown) is in place. The No. 3 tackle is not, from among Eben Britton, J’Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott, whenever Scott is able to return from a knee problem that effectively has him on the bubble if Britton or Webb can establish themselves the next two games.
Since the swing tackle became a starter each of the past four seasons (Chris Williams, Webb, Frank Omiyale, Scott), this is a critical roster slot.
“[Scott] is getting better every day,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We feel good enough that we’ll see him get a little more work over the next 10 days as we move forward. The best I’ve heard from Jonathan is that he’s back up, his knee is cleaned out and we’re encouraged that he’ll be working soon.”