One game shouldn’t determine the future for Chicago Bears offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, who was drafted in the first round of 2011 originally to play tackle, but will start at left guard for the injured Lance Louis on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Still, Carimi’s performance in this outing could lead to the staff pondering whether guard is the spot for the second-year veteran moving into the offseason.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice pointed to 2004 second-overall pick Robert Gallery as an example of a player drafted to play tackle, and eventually moved inside to guard. But it would be shortsighted for the Bears to seriously consider a similar move long-term for Carimi, who was demoted as the starting right tackle last week, if he plays well at guard against the Seahawks.
Carimi might serve as a temporary fix for the rest of the 2012 season, but beyond that he needs to be given another shot at right tackle.
Because of injuries in 2010, the Bears moved former first-round tackle Chris Williams to guard, where he started the majority of that season and the next before the club put him in a training-camp competition for the starting left-tackle spot against J'Marcus Webb. Well, Williams lost that competition, and the team never seriously considered moving him back to guard, where he had been an effective contributor.
Then on Oct. 16, the Bears terminated Williams’ contract.
Obviously, it’s highly unlikely Carimi would suffer a similar fate. But the club needs to be mindful not to try to turn a temporary fix into a long-term situation for Carimi, who is skilled enough to develop into a solid right tackle this team can utilize for years to come.