Bears searching for veteran line help

Chicago yesterday worked out former St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Adam Goldberg. This is the third free-agent offensive lineman the Bears have shown interest in this offseason.

Yesterday, the Chicago Bears held a workout for free-agent tackle Adam Goldberg.

Goldberg (6-7, 305) started eight games for the Rams last season. He's a former undrafted free agent that began his NFL career in Minnesota before being traded to St. Louis for a seventh-round pick in 2006.

For his career, Goldberg has started 66 of the 112 games in which he's played.

This is the third veteran offensive lineman for whom the Bears have shown interest this offseason. A few weeks ago, the organization worked out former-Vikings guard Anthony Herrera, who spent eight seasons in Minnesota.


G Anthony Herrera
Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire

Both Herrera and Goldberg were signed/drafted by then-Vikings head coach Mike Tice, currently Chicago's offensive coordinator. Tice is familiar with these two linemen and obviously wants to find out if either has enough left in the tank to contribute to his offense going forward.

The Bears also recently inquired about former-Cleveland Browns guard Eric Steinbach, an eight-year veteran.

These moves show Chicago's intention of strengthening the offensive line through free agency. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Bears rushed for just 3.3 yards per carry between the tackles last season, 30th in the league, and did not have one run of 20-plus yards up the middle.

Obviously, upgrades along the interior are necessary.

Chicago used a combination of Chris Williams, Edwin Williams, Lance Louis and Chris Spencer at guard last season – none of whom stood out. Tice is expected to install a run-heavy system and knows he won't be successful running the ball unless he can get consistent push up front.

These moves also might indicate the club's plans to slide Chris Williams to left tackle, the position for which he was drafted in the first round in 2008. Current starter J'Marcus Webb was arguably the worst left tackle in the league last season. If he starts again in 2012, and plays like he did in 2011, the Bears' passing attack will never take the next step. GM Phil Emery knows this.

It's hard to fathom Williams being any worse than Webb was last season.

In addition, these moves give us a glimpse at Emery's overall strategy heading into this year's draft.

If the Bears are able to add a veteran guard, they can then forego that position in the draft. That way, Emery can focus on filling some gaping holes on defense, specifically along the defensive line, and possibly at offensive tackle.

Tice and head coach Lovie Smith have both stated publicly they are happy with the current offensive line, yet the moves Emery is making belies that apparent confidence. Anyone with a pulse knows Chicago needs help up front and it appears Emery is doing everything he can to make that happen.

One thing is for sure though, considering the upgrades Emery has made at the team's offensive skill positions in free agency – Brandon Marshall, Michael Bush, Jason Campbell – this year's draft will be heavy on defensive players. And will be even more so if the team signs Goldberg, Herrera or Steinbach.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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