The Chicago Bears offensive line was pretty impressive last season even when Kyle Long and Josh Sitton were out due to injury. Jordan Howard ran for over 1,000 yards and the group only allowed 1.8 sacks per game last season, seventh best in the NFL.
Long and Sitton are two of the best guards in the NFL. Sitton, who made his fourth pro bowl last season, signed with the Bears on September 4th of last season after a surprising release by the Packers. Long, signed a four year extension with the Bears on September 7th, 2016, locking him up until 2021.
Both Long and Sitton, when healthy, have the ability to dominate the opponent. And with Cody Whitehair having a impressive rookie season, the Bears could have one of the best interior offensive lines in football.
But first, both pro-bowl guards need to get healthy. Long is progressing slowly in recovery from his ankle injury he suffered last November, causing him to miss the last eight games of last season. Sitton, who missed three games last year with an ankle injury, is currently sidelined with a chest injury.
John Fox confirmed today that Kyle Long and Josh Sitton will practice at both left and right guard. Sitton played right guard his first four seasons in Green Bay, winning a Super Bowl in 2011. Long has played on the right side his whole career thus far with some right tackle mixed in.
“You want flexibility,” Fox said Tuesday after the first day of minicamp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. “You don’t want as much flexibility as we had to use a year ago because we had to play so many guys due to injury. But we’re messing around with (Sitton) and Kyle both playing opposite sides. … We’ll get those looks in camp. We (have) plenty of time.”- From Brad Biggs article in the Chicago Tribune
Sitton said on Tuesday that he believes this Bears O-line group can be “one of the better groups in the league.” And he’s right. Both Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie were up and down last season but played well toward the end of the season. And with the interior line intact, opposing defensive lines better be ready to go.
More from Sitton:
“Some guys are natural right side or left side and just better on a certain side. It can have to do with anything from what hand you are, your feet might just be better on a certain side. … There are things I do better on the left side and things I do better on the right side. It kind of evens out.”
The Bears offensive line needs to be healthy come training camp. The team will report to camp six weeks from Wednesday and John Fox said Long still has 6-7 weeks of recovery time left. This group needs to be together all of camp because Long and Sitton need to build chemistry.
“Building that chemistry is something that takes time, and last year we didn’t really get to start building that chemistry until Week 1…“It’s a definite benefit.”
Other news from Day one of minicamp: Danny Trevathan, Zach Miller and Sitton were limited at practice. Trevathan is still recovering from a torn patellar tendon suffered last season and may not be ready for the start of camp. Miller is still recovering from a right foot injury but looks to be ready for the start of camp. Also, cornerback Marcus Cooper was not at minicamp because of an undisclosed soft tissue injury, first reported by Adam Hoge of WGN.