Chat wrap: Chris Williams and Kevin Smith

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Thanks to everyone for stopping by our SportsNation chat Monday afternoon. We hit many topics, although surprisingly no one seemed interested in breaking down the play list for Springsteen at the Xcel Center.

(Just to close the loop we started earlier Monday, the iconic "Dancing in the Dark" video was filmed in 1984 at the St. Paul Civic Center. A little nugget of trivia for you.)

At least two topics from the chat merit further discussion. Here was the exchange on the first:


Grant (Oak Park, IL): What do you think the future holds for Chris Williams? Will he ever be the left tackle the Bears want? Orlando pace can be good for 2, maybe 3 years. Will Williams be the long-term solution?

SportsNation Kevin Seifert: For the Bears' sake, I hope he develops into a long-term left tackle. You don't draft a right tackle as high as they did. I think the Pace experiment will be more like 1-2 years. I'd be really surprised if the Bears don't envision Williams moving over after that.

Williams was the No. 14 overall pick of the 2008 draft. The Bears penciled him in as their opening day left tackle before a back injury felled his season. Then they targeted him for that position in 2009 before signing Pace.

There really isn't a body of work to judge Williams on, and I'm not willing to read too much into the Pace signing. The Bears saw a chance to improve their line, which they thought would be better with a combination of Pace and Williams at the two tackle spots than if it were Williams and, say, Kevin Shaffer or John St. Clair.

I went back and forth on whether Pace or Williams should switch positions. Ultimately, the Bears decided to put Williams in the less-stressful right tackle position. But I fully expect Williams to spend the majority of his career as a left tackle.

Meanwhile, Detroit tailback Kevin Smith was also a hot topic:


Matt (Grand Rapids): I've heard people say they don't think Kevin Smith fits Linehan's offense very well, what are your thoughts?

SportsNation Kevin Seifert: I think that's mostly because Linehan doesn't really run the "zone-blocking" scheme that Smith was in last year and also in college. But the adjustment is easier to make from zone-blocking to man than the other way around.

If you look back at Linehan's NFL career, you can see that a wide variety of running backs have had success in his system. He's utilized a speedster in Michael Bennett, power-based runners like Steven Jackson and Moe Williams, and hybrids like Ronnie Brown and Onterrio Smith.

Linehan runs the more basic man-to-man blocking schemes, something every running back should be able to adjust to. If Smith fails in this offense, it won't be because of the scheme.