Halas Chat: OT John St. Clair

With John Tait coming back slowly from offseason ankle surgery, John St. Clair has seen a lot of action at so far in the preseason. An eight-year veteran, he will once again be the primary backup at both tackle spots. St. Clair talked with BearReport.com before Wednesday's practice at Halas Hall about right ends vs. left ends, getting back to Lake Forest, and doing all that pass blocking.

John Crist: A lot of people say that left tackle John Tait is the single most indispensible player on the roster. How does that make you feel as his primary backup?

John St. Clair: When you look at it, he's a great player playing that position. Any time you have a player of his caliber, of course it hurts no matter who the backups are. When you play with a group, guys get used to you. That's the whole thing with an offense line. Guys get used to you. Of course, it would be better to have him in there because he's played with the line more. But, of course, I'm always ready to play.

JC: We know there are some subtle differences between playing left tackle and playing right tackle. What exactly are those differences?

JSC: It's like writing with your right hand and writing with your left hand. That's how it feels. But the key thing is you have to practice whatever you're playing that week. It's good I practice that position just to get used to it. But it's hard. It's challenging. It's one of the hardest things you can do, flipping back and forth. But that's what I get paid to do, so I have to do it.

JC: How about the guys that you are facing in the trenches week in and week out. What are the differences you seen in left defensive ends versus right defensive ends?

JSC: Normally, the left tackle faces more speed rushers. Typically, the right tackle he has bigger guys or the tight end to his side, so guys are not coming as fast as at left tackle. A lot of times you have a right-handed quarterback which you're protecting his blind side, so it' very important. So, basically, you have to hold your own by yourself. That's why a lot of guys say left tackle is on an island.

JC: You broke training camp over the weekend. What's it feel like getting away from Bourbonnais and finally coming back to practice every day at Halas Hall again?

JSC: It's great, man. Being here is like home. Being at practice. Being in the quiet. Being able to concentrate with your fellow teammates and the coaches. There's nothing like it. And after practice you go home and get it your own bed, so it's a great feeling.

JC: Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has called a lot of passing plays during the preseason so far. Since every lineman prefers to run the football, is it frustrating having to do all this pass blocking?

JSC: No, it's not frustrating at all. That's what we do. Whatever coach calls, that's what we execute. That's the pride we take on this line. Whatever the call, whether it's a run or a pass, we try to execute it to the best of our ability. That's one thing about the line that makes it great. Everybody on the line, we work hard to do that.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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