Want familiarity with the Bears? Look in the trenches
BOURBONNAIS – Green Bay has it’s bikes. Chicago now has a big wheel.
Kyle Long has brought this change to the Bears.
On Saturday the talented and sometimes creative guard decided to the make his way to practice not on foot or two wheels but rather three. The Chicago Bears Twitter site posted a video of the construction of the bike and then its first ride from the locker room to the practice field at Olivet Nazarene University.
It’s a change. Not a drastic one, but something different nonetheless.
This August it figures to be a common occurrence with a completely rebuilt front office along with a new coaching staff. Long’s new head coach John Fox has brought in a new offensive coordinator (Adam Gase) and a new offensive line coach (Dave Magazu) who figure to bring significant changes for the 2015 season.
About the only thing that hasn’t changed is Long himself along with the men he shares the trenches with on Sundays.
Four of the five starters from the 2014 season return for this year: Guards Long and Matt Slauson along with tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills.
“Me and him came in together and we’ve been doing it since.,” said Mills of Long-who played next to Long on the right side last season. “It’s a great cohesiveness together.”
Long was the most consistent member of the line in 2014 starting all but one game last season at right guard. Mills had just three games where he did start at the right tackle spot. Bushrod was more consistent on the left side starting 14 of 16 games while Slauson started five games until his season ended with an injury against the Patriots.
Yet Bushrod, who is enters his third season with the Bears, says familiarity will only take the line so far.
“It’s just a whole new battle, a whole new grind, we have a whole new mindset, we want to get the bad taste out of our mouths,” said Bushrod of the line in training camp. “We’ve got to put our best effort forward compete and build a resume to build and establish the camaraderie that we’re supposed to have.”
That might have been tough in 2014 when the Bears offense was, frankly, pass happy. The team was 30th in the league in rushing attempts with just 355 the whole season-an average of 22.2 a game. When they did rush they were average-opening holes for backs to gain 4.1 yards a carry which was good enough for 16th in the NFL.
Adam Gase’s Denver offense, which he’ll bring to Chicago this season, had the exact same average but with 443 attempts. His passing offense led by Peyton Manning was fourth in the league.
Getting Gase’s offense down will be the priority for the line over the next six weeks before the opener on September 13th. At the moment this familiar group is being patient.
“Like Coach Fox said ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ We’ve got to find our identity. We feel like we’re one step closer every day and we’re getting better.”
At least they’ll be familiar to themselves and fans-even when they use a different way to get to the practice field.