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Across The Middle: Preseason Week Four

| August 31st, 2016

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Admin Note: the five things I wish the Bears had columns will return Thursday & Friday.

John Fox made it very clear: Preseason games are just more practice and should be evaluated and valued as such. So why won’t people listen?

Like most people, I’m sure, my Twitter timeline was full of people freaking out over how the Bears were practicing on Saturday. Fox told the world before the game that it wasn’t crucial.

“It’s not the season. They call it preseason for a reason, it’s to evaluate, put your players in positions, take a look at players,” Fox said last week before the game. “We put a lot of stock in practice as well.”

After the game, his attitude was the same saying “we got a chance to look at some young guys and make some evaluations. That’s what preseason is for.” He later referenced preseason as “practice games” and spoke multiple times about playing players in different positions.

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Why I’ve Got Questions About the Bears Offensive Line

| May 6th, 2016

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Forget about Matt Slauson being thrown into the dumpster behind A&P well-before his expiration date. That’s old news and I’ve promised those in the Twitterverse I’ll refrain from using the words “Matt” and “Slauson” in succession any longer. To play offensive football the way John Fox wishes it to be played, the Bears don’t need a mediocre offensive line. They need a good offensive line to be a playoff team and a great line to be a championship contender. Right now? They have more questions than answers.

Question 1. Is Charles Leno going to get better?

Leno was fine in 2015. Not good. Fine. The organization believes he can be the answer at left tackle but by no means is he a certainty to even finish the season protecting Jay Cutler’s blindside. Many of Leno’s struggles in 2015 were masked by Cutler’s ability to make things happen under duress. But how long will Cutler stay on the field if he’s constantly under duress?

Question 2. Is Cody Whitehair as good as I think he is?

If he is, the Bears have a two contract starter at guard. But he’s a rookie. And rookies, regardless of my opinion, are crap shoots.

Question 3. Who is playing center?

Is it Hroniss Grasu? Does Manny “Being Manny” Ramirez win the job from him in camp? Neither is going to be challenging for an All Pro spot anytime soon.

Also, if Ramirez wins the center job, is Grasu valuable anywhere else along the line? Can he sub in at guard?

Question 4. Can the right side of the line stay healthy?

The Bears right guard and tackle are one of the team’s strengths, especially in the run game. But what happens if one of them misses substantial time? The Bears have little depth to cover Long and Massie. (Don’t mention Ted Larsen to me with a straight face.)

It might be the team’s most important unit. And right now it contains the most unknowns.

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