Webb Worthy?


There are no better alternatives

Wright By Michael Wright

Even if it really wasn't in the plan for J'Marcus Webb to move to the second team this week to give other players a look and he was truly demoted because of a poor performance in the preseason opener, guess what? He'll still wind up as the starter in 2013 simply because the Bears don't have any other options.

That sounds bleak, yes. But let's take a look at the alternatives at right tackle.

Outside of Webb, the best option at right tackle appears to be veteran Eben Britton. But the truth is that Britton's performance against the Carolina Panthers on Friday wasn't much better than the outing produced by Webb.

A fifth-year veteran, Britton has started in 30 of 37 career games, while Webb has made 46 career starts, not including the playoffs. In Jacksonville, Britton was pulled for underperforming twice in 2012, and many of his issues can be traced back to injuries. Webb, meanwhile, has proved to be a durable player (32 consecutive starts), and he's never been pulled for underperforming (although he probably should have been).

Another alternative at the position is rookie Jordan Mills. He's running with the starters now at practice and is expected to start Thursday night when the Bears play host to the San Diego Chargers. I don't expect him to still be with the group once the Bears get into the regular season.

A fifth-round pick, Mills is a natural right tackle who made 199 knockdown blocks over his career at Louisiana Tech, with 32 of his blocks resulting in touchdowns. He lacks experience and comes from a college program where he faced inferior competition. Considering all the technical refinement he needs to make, it might be too much of a stretch to throw him into the starting lineup as a rookie.

Webb faced the same situation in 2010 as a rookie seventh-round pick. So Mills could pull it off.

Still, at this point, Webb presents the best option for the Bears. Mills will eventually step into a starting role at tackle. Now just isn't the time.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com

Talented Webb lacks intangibles

Dickerson By Jeff Dickerson

The only reason for J'Marcus Webb to begin the regular season at right tackle would be if rookie Jordan Mills, veteran Eben Britton and possibly injured Jonathan Scott fall flat on their faces in the next three weeks.

The book is out on Webb. He has all the necessary size and athleticism to be an upper-echelon offensive tackle in the NFL, but he lacks the consistency and discipline required to play the position.

Then there is this whole J'Webb Nation nonsense and the bizarre messages he posts on Facebook and Twitter. We all have quirks, but Webb's behavior makes you wonder if he really loves football or cares about doing his job to the best of his ability.

Does Webb lose sleep when he surrenders a sack?

Does Webb want to fight at practice the day after losing his starting job?

Will Webb show the Bears something either at practice or in a game over the remainder of the preseason that will force them to put him back at right tackle on the first team?

I truly don't know if Webb will do any of those things.

And that's why the Bears need to explore alternative options. This team wants offensive linemen who want to play nasty.

Kyle Long might not know what he's doing half the time he lines up at right guard, but he'll never back away from a fight. That I can say for certain after watching him on the field the past couple of weeks.

Maybe Mills is the same way. The Bears need to find out. The only way to accurately find out about a player the organization projects as a future starter is to throw him in there against the defensive starters and see how he handles himself.

We already know how Webb handles his business -- and it's proved not to be good enough.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.