Working relationship

Center <!--Default NodeId For Olin Kreutz is 722171,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722171]>Olin Kreutz</A> is shoulder to shoulder with guards <!--Default NodeId For Chris Villarrial is 722172,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722172]>Chris Villarrial</A> and <!--Default NodeId For Rex Tucker is 722207,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722207]>Rex Tucker</A> on the field, and they are almost as close off the field.

The three usually ride in the same golf cart. But they also include starting tackles Aaron Gibson and Mike Gandy in their group. All five, a total of more than 1,600 pounds of beef, arrived for a recent dinner in the same cart, sporting stressed-out shocks and semi-flat tires.

"We're all part of the same group," Kreutz said. "We're just all on the same floor, we're right next to each other. Me, Rex and Chris, I think we're the only ones who can stand each other, so we're pretty much stuck with each other."

When it was suggested that maybe Tucker and Villarrial were the only ones who could stand Kreutz, he said, "That's a good point. I don't even think they can (stand me) sometimes. I force them to go to lunch and they just kind of go along."

Although the interior of the line is solid the tackles are a question mark.

Gandy started the last 11 games of the 2002 season at two different positions. He had never played left tackle before lining up there in Week 12. Now, Gandy is expected to protect Kordell Stewart's blindside.

While Gandy's initiation period has past, he's still relatively unproven.

"I'm definitely getting there. I don't know if I'm full-fledged," Gandy said of feeling a part of the offensive line. "Those guys have been together for a few years now. Just building that comradely and companionship. That's what it takes to be a great line."

Opposite Gandy is Gibson, who is even more of an unknown. Gibson has been plagued by shoulder injuries since coming into the league in 1999. He spent his rookie campaign on Injured Reserve after dislocating his left shoulder in mini-camp.

The following year he started the first ten games before separating his right shoulder. Since then he's played for three teams and been released twice. A genetic condition made his shoulders more prone to injury, but corrective surgery has put questions about his health to rest.

"My injuries were genetic, the socket bones breaking, so now that those are fixed I feel that things are good," Gibson said. "I never doubted myself, I just had a lot of injury problems."

Gibson's talent has never come into question. Health and conditioning his 6-6, 375 pound frame have been the main concerns. Gibson shed 30 plus pounds during the offseason and is in the best shape of his professional career.

However, the same can't be said for Marc Colombo. When and if Colombo can return from a knee injury is uncertain. Either way, the Bears bookends will go along way towards determining the fait of the offense.

Head coach Dick Jauron speaks on the subject with profound desperateness.

"I think they're going to be very good players but we need to see it and we need to get them there quick."


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