Bears’ offensive line riddled with injuries

The Bears will be starting their sixth offensive line combination, running short on experienced backups.

The Chicago Bears have saved a roster spot for a significant portion of the season and, if something goes wrong on Sunday, it could come back to haunt them in a big way.

Of a 53-man roster, typically 10 of those spots are reserved for offensive linemen. The value of a “swingman” – a player who can play both guard and center or guard and tackle – is always a value player because he serves a dual purpose and depth can be determined that way.

Chicago has opted to go with nine. For the record, so have the Vikings. But, in the case of the Bears, that number is down to seven.

When casual fans looked at the final injury report, the names Eben Britton and Jordan Mills didn’t stand out. But, for Bears fans, it likely perked some ears – as it should for Vikings fans.

Britton has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Mills, the starting right tackle, is listed as doubtful and hasn’t practiced all week. Typically, that is a sign that a player won’t start on Sunday. As a result, backup tackle Charles Leno likely will be promoted to the starting lineup. Why? Because they have nobody else.

Of the four players that currently sit on the Bears roster that are designated as offensive tackles, just two – left tackle Jermon Bushrod and Leno – are on the roster. The Bears have just three guards currently on the roster – starters Kyle Long and Michael Ola and backup Ryan Groy, who serves as the backup for both.

The Bears have two guards – rookie Conor Bofefeli (6-4, 304) and second-year player Antoine McClain (6-5, 336) – and one tackle – first-year man Jason Weaver (6-5, 305) – on the practice squad. But, the Bears already made a 53-man roster addition by adding wide receiver Marquess Wilson, who has been out since suffering a broken collarbone Aug. 4 in the first week of Bears training camp.

The current plan, as Chicago buzz has it, is that Ola will move to right tackle and backup swingman Brian de la Puenta, who is listed on the Bears depth chart as a center, moving to right guard.

For the record, if it plays out that way, it will be the sixth different offensive line combination Chicago has had over the last five games heading into the sixth mixed up combination.

If you’re looking for a reason why the Bears have a 1-4 record in their last five games, it may come back directly to having five different O-line combinations.

Welcome to the sixth incarnation of the Bears O-line. That may prove to be pivotal in continuing a downward trend for Chicago that is reaching epic proportions.


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