While the pretty boys are getting all of the attention in the Chicago Bears' offensive makeover, line coach Mike Tice is working quietly to improve a group that was at the crux of last season's problems. Tice has been asked to accomplish that goal with existing personnel, and on Sunday, he offered a status report on most of the individuals involved.
Here are some excerpts of his comments:
On right tackle Frank Omiyale, whom Tice has yanked from two drills for jumping offsides
TiceTice: "He's got a great quickness and long reach. He's got the ability to change direction and close inside moves if he's out there on an island -- which he might be in the offense we're putting in. He could be out there on an island some for a right tackle. So that's what he's got."
On left tackle Chris Williams
Tice: "I thought [Saturday] night he was one of the guys that was very solid. He had good sets for the most part. He is working hard to keep his left hand up. ... I think he has the ability to be whatever he wants to be. Would like to see a little more tenacity there, but we can't change people's makeups. But I liked his start. He was one of the guys that I singled out in the [offensive line meeting] room as starting out pretty good."
On guard/center Josh Beekman
Tice: "Another guy that I singled out that I thought ... had a solid night. He did a lot of good things, not only at guard but at center, too. Josh, I did single him out for having good pad level, but then again he's only 4-11." [Laughs.]
Tice: "He smiles all the time. Doesn't say much. And he's funny. Johan goes like this all the time: 'Yes, coach.' Every time he does that, I picture Dave saying [in a deep voice], 'Ok Mike.' Johan had a little rough start [Saturday] night, but he'll be OK."
Tice: "In my opinion he is battling with the right guard for the right spot. We keep talking about the left guard spot, I think we have other areas where we're having competition at. Lance was another guy whose start I liked. He's very aggressive. He's big. He's smart. He knocked people around [Saturday] night. He made some mistakes. ... I thought for a guy that hasn't really played a lot of football, he went out there and didn't show nay fear and competed."
On center Olin Kreutz
Tice: "I just think there are some things that he's let lapse, technique-wise. I've pointed that out and he's going to work on that. If he does that and he holds up, and I'm smart with him and don't overwork him, then I think he can [return to Pro Bowl status]. I think he has some juice left."