The Bears continue to make changes to their offensive line that was an absolute disaster on Monday night in San Francisco, and has been one of the worst units in the NFL this season (and the previous few seasons, too).
On Wednesday, the Bears benched Chilo Rachal in favor of Chris Spencer at left guard (Read much more about the Rachal saga here.) And on Thursday, the Bears finally made an in-house move at offensive tackle, by demoting Gabe Carimi and making veteran Jonathan Scott the starter.
Carimi, the Bears' first round pick in 2011, has been highly disappointing in what has essentially been his rookie year, as he suffered a season-ending knee injury in week two of 2011. To be fair, he's been very good as a run-blocker, but his pass-blocking? Yikes; just downright awful. And his pass-blocking struggles were on full display Monday night against the 49ers.
According to @pff, Gabe Carimi gave up 3 sacks, 1 knockdown & 1 hurry in 31 pass-blocking snaps against Niners. #notgoodRotoworld adds, "A bottom-10 tackle in Pro Football Focus' rankings, Carimi got flat out embarrassed by 49ers DE Aldon Smith in Monday night's loss, getting tossed around like a rag doll. Carimi is less than two years removed from being the No. 29 overall pick, but unless he's playing injured, there's simply no excuse for the way he performed in Week 11."
— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) November 21, 2012
While most of the criticism from Bears fans has been aimed at J'Marcus Webb when it comes to the Bears' offensive line, Carimi has been the worse player. And that's not at all an endorsement in Webb, it just speaks to how badly Carimi's played this year. It's possible that Carimi's knee (which forced him to undergo two surgeries in 2011) is a part of the problem, and maybe it will never be what it was before the injury. But, he's still just 24, and much of the problem is just technique and bad habits he gets into, so there's definitely a chance he can make big improvements.
Carimi told the Chicago Tribune, "It’s obviously upsetting. I have a positive attitude about it. I’ll come back from this. I know it.”
So, Scott will start at right tackle now for the Bears, but there's no guarantee he'll do much better than Carimi either. The 29-year-old Scott is a 6'6", 318-pound journeyman, and was on the street for a reason when the Bears scooped him up as a free agent on September 10th. He's made 29 career starts, so he certainly has experience, but Rotoworld had this to say about him in August: "Scott appeared in 12 games for the Steelers last season, starting five, but was overwhelmed in pass protection. He's likely nearing the end of the line."
Carimi's performance certainly warranted a benching, and the Bears need to find any way they can to improve the offensive line, so I definitely agree with giving Scott a shot. I'm just limiting my expectations on how well he'll play, and I'd suggest you do the same.
The good news is that it would be very difficult for any NFL-worthy offensive lineman to play worse than Carimi has, so perhaps Scott will be at least a slight improvement at right tackle.
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