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Spencer, signed to replace Kreutz, likely to be a reserve

Mike Tice AP

When the Bears and longtime center Olin Kreutz couldn’t come to terms on a deal, Chicago quickly snapped up former Seahawks first round pick Chris Spencer to play the position.

They gave him $6 million over two seasons, which is certainly a starter’s salary.

It looks like Spencer will start the year on the bench, however, after Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice announced the team’s starters on Sunday. Longtime guard Roberto Garza will instead start at center.

“Unless the five starting linemen falter, there are no changes,” said Tice via CSNChicago.com. “There’s no ‘competition.’ We have five guys in there and they’re the starters.  We’re going to stay that way until something proves me wrong. . . . “Unless they falter, that’s who’s opening the season against Atlanta.”

The much-discussed line with have J’Marcus Webb at left tackle, Chris Williams at left guard, Garza at center, Lance Louis at right guard, and rookie Gabe Carimi at right tackle.  The left side of the line has struggled in camp. Help isn’t coming.

Bears fans don’t want to hear it, but there are a lot of reasons why the team is likely to win fewer games this year. This offensive line facing a much tougher schedule is near the top of our list.

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27 Responses to “Spencer, signed to replace Kreutz, likely to be a reserve”
  1. houmas says: Aug 8, 2011 9:37 AM

    Geaux Saints

  2. dietrich43 says: Aug 8, 2011 9:43 AM

    Another great front office move by Chicago!

  3. FinFan68 says: Aug 8, 2011 9:43 AM

    Can’t sayI agree with the personnel they are using but the premise of finding the 6 guys and sticking with them is the right approach. They have the time to jel. I wish Sparano (Miami) would figure that out instead of tinkering with a healthy line before being forced by injuries to change it up. Losing Kreutz seems to be one of the dumbest moves this FA period.

  4. FinFan68 says: Aug 8, 2011 9:44 AM

    ^5 guys

  5. lasher1650 says: Aug 8, 2011 9:52 AM

    Cutler will not survive season behind that line.

  6. trollhammer20 says: Aug 8, 2011 9:55 AM

    Why are teams enamored with signing offensive linemen who have been let go from Seattle? Seattle’s fall from perennial playoff contender to three straight losing seasons started up front, as the offensive line disintegrated. Yet Spencer, Willis, and Locklear were all able to find work in this offseason.

    It is hardly surprising Spencer will start on the bench. The only reason he started in Seattle is that he was a high draft pick, and the OL was so thin, there was no one around to replace him until Carroll and Schneider made addressing the situation through the draft their #1 priority.

    Congrats on getting Ruskell in your front office, Bear fans. He has a history of bringing in players that the coaching staff won’t use.

  7. slizzyslizz says: Aug 8, 2011 10:00 AM

    As a longtime Bear fan I am torn on the decision…his play has definitely dropped off and on talent alone, I agree with what Angelo did.

    But Kruetz brought more to the table than just talent. The toughness, leadership, and ability to call out the line adjustments are something that he could do better than anything else that we had or what was out there.

    That is sorely going to be missed this season…much like Kevin Mawae’s presence in Tennessee last year. (look at the dropoff in production for “CJ2K”). Physically, Mawae was way past his prime, but the intangibles & continuity he brought were as good as anyone in the NFL…much like Kreutz was to the Bears (IMHO).

    That said, we had to bring him back…either way best of luck in NO Olin!

  8. blackheld says: Aug 8, 2011 10:17 AM

    As a Lions’ fan, I’m glad to see Kruetz gone from the NFC North. The guy knew every single defensive line stunt in the division and how to adjust to it.

    Detroit has a similar center in Raiola, who might be on the backsiode of his career, physically, but has the knowledge and leadership to make the line better before he ever throws a block. Detroit has some young linemen, and eventually Raiola and Backus will retire, or be replaced, but it’s not gonna be a money decision…at least, not this year.

    This is gonna hurt the Bears. Cutler can’t make line calls, of course, and Olsen is gone…run out of town by everyone’s favorite genius Mike Martz…and that leaves essentially no one familiar with things to get it done, at least til Carimi gets a couple years of experience.

    Sucks bein’ Chicago.

  9. chc4 says: Aug 8, 2011 10:19 AM

    Oh my… John Abraham is licking his chops for week 1.

  10. jutts says: Aug 8, 2011 10:22 AM

    You let the Leader of O line go, you spend big money on his replacement. And the guy can’t make the starting five. Angelo and Ruskell. Enough said; ……….. I hope George Mckaskey is smarter than his brothers. Please, listen to the fans and the media. They are not “always wrong”.

  11. illiniftw says: Aug 8, 2011 10:27 AM

    So the Bears back up center gets $3 mil a year and they can’t pay Forte more than $500k? God I hate Angelo…

  12. bahoto34 says: Aug 8, 2011 10:40 AM

    tougher schedule? really? we went from having to go against the afc east to going against the horrible afc west. i’ll take the raiders and broncos over the pats and jets any year

  13. dirtyharry44 says: Aug 8, 2011 10:46 AM

    Gotta love Tim Ruskell when he’s not in the Seahawks front office. You’ve heard it before Bear fans, Ruskell’s input will ruin this franchise! Do your best to get him out of there and Chicago will be much better off.

  14. lrt79 says: Aug 8, 2011 10:49 AM

    It doesn’t matter how good the defense will be again. Our offense will be stagnant and cost us any chance of a successful season.

    The window is closing on some of our great defensive players and we traded away a big part of our future for a franchise QB… then have 7th round draft picks, a single veteran who is merely average, a certified bust, and a rookie to protect him.

    Bears fans, I hope you’re as prepared as I am to change the channel when our offense is on the field, unless you enjoy pain.

  15. drshankenstein says: Aug 8, 2011 10:51 AM

    (I’m a Bears fan) At the end of this season, Angelo and that coaching staff won’t have to wonder why, they are no longer in Chicago. If only you could fire an owner, Chicago might have a future. As is, that team is screwed as long as that cheap witch is running it.

  16. thephantomstranger says: Aug 8, 2011 10:51 AM

    bahoto34 says:
    Aug 8, 2011 10:40 AM
    tougher schedule? really? we went from having to go against the afc east to going against the horrible afc west. i’ll take the raiders and broncos over the pats and jets any year
    _________

    Maybe by tougher schedule he meant that you don’t get to play the Vikings during a blizzard at TCF Bank Stadium with a rookie 6th-round pick getting his first significant action at QB this year. Every team in the NFC North has improved from last year except the Bears.

  17. raven540 says: Aug 8, 2011 10:51 AM

    Above (or below) it was commented that “Congrats on getting Ruskell in your front office, Bear fans. He has a history of bringing in players that the coaching staff won’t use.” The Bears coaches (Lovie and Tice) were on record that (right or wrong) the wanted Kruetz. Setting the line like this early is sending a message from the coaches to the GM that they did not like his decision despite their public protestations that they are all agreed on the decision. I feel sorry for Cutler with a second year 7th rounder and a rookie playing tackle but I am even more worried that he has a first round bust (Williams) playing left guard and some free agent bust Louis playing right guard. There will be no pocket to step up into. Martz better put in a rolling pocket or there will be blood to clean up on the Soldier Field grass.

  18. bears0492 says: Aug 8, 2011 11:02 AM

    The idea is to let the younger players play and develop. Obviously there will be growing pains, but this is a pretty physically talented line. Once Tice can work with them and get them game experience as a group together, you’ll begin to see the mental ability begin to hopefully reach the physical ability.

  19. illiniftw says: Aug 8, 2011 11:05 AM

    @raven540 Martz doesn’t adjust.. that is part of his genius! /sarcasm

  20. vahawker says: Aug 8, 2011 11:12 AM

    Spencer just isn’t good enough or smart enough. In Seattle, the guard was making line calls because Spencer couldn’t get it done.

    Tim Ruskell strikes again…sucks to be a Bears fan. Watch as your team gets smaller and smaller when they draft smurf WR’s and RB’s and “finesse” lineman who get manhandled by bigger and stronger lines. SOOOOOOO glad to out from under the failure that is Tim Ruskell the GM-it will be worth suffering through a few bad years to rebuild what he destroyed.

  21. catchhester23 says: Aug 8, 2011 11:37 AM

    As a bears fan not worried about the center garza has been right next to kreutz for many years pretty sure he knows just as much about protections. Left side scares me webb never played LT. Has anyone seen cutler he is in much better shape which means he is ready to run. Plus the bigger TE’s should help a lot for the blocking so forte can hit the hole and turn on the jets. As long as “roy” catches the damn ball when it hits his hands he will help a lot. Plus it has to burn lions fans to see there trash turn into are gems. Good coaching goes a long ways, detroit think your almost there.

  22. toonsterwu says: Aug 8, 2011 11:55 AM

    As a Bears fan, the only concern I really have on the OL is at LT. Obviously, that’s the most important spot, but I’m fairly satisfied from LG-RT. I figured Spencer would slide to a backup role, as Tice was really, really high on a lot of the youngsters the Bears had, particularly Louis.

    I’m very wart of Webb at LT, but Tice really believes in his potential there and his work with the ragtag group last year gets my benefit of the doubt … for now. The depth will be alright, with Omiyale surprisingly slotted for backup duty, and several interior guys that Tice is high on, along with Spencer.

  23. pudgalvin says: Aug 8, 2011 2:04 PM

    Lot of people lamenting the loss of Kreutz, the leader of an offensive line that gave up 62 sacks last year and couldnt run on anyone except the panthers.

    and the reason the bears played against a sixth round qb against the vikes last year is because they couldnt block one of our 6th round picks and he killed their qb.

  24. judsonjr says: Aug 8, 2011 2:13 PM

    Did Tice really do a good job last year? I know the running game picked up last year in the 2nd half, but the pass protection was awful the whole season: 4 sacks/game in the 1st 8 games, 3 sacks/game in the 2nd half.

  25. trollhammer20 says: Aug 8, 2011 3:06 PM

    vahawker says:Aug 8, 2011 11:12 AM

    Watch as your team gets smaller and smaller when they draft smurf WR’s and RB’s and “finesse” lineman who get manhandled by bigger and stronger lines. SOOOOOOO glad to out from under the failure that is Tim Ruskell the GM-it will be worth suffering through a few bad years to rebuild what he destroyed.
    _________________________________

    I hear that. Remember that playoff debacle in Green Bay, where a couple of turnovers got us a 14-0 lead and we proceeded to get blown out because our “quick” defense was just too small and got pushed all over the field, and Ryan Grant posted over 200 yards?

    The Giants went in the next week, with one of the biggest teams in the league, and won.

    It was at that moment I realized the fatal flaw in Ruskell’s philosophy. Love the direction Carroll and Schneider are taking the team. We may get beat, but we won’t get beat up.

  26. granadafan says: Aug 8, 2011 4:13 PM

    Cutler is already sulking on the sidelines at the prospect of playing behind this line.

  27. nflpuppetmaster says: Aug 8, 2011 8:43 PM

    I don’t know if the Bears OL is going to be better than last year or not, but you can’t make predictions based on schedule. Bears supposedly had a tough early schedule last year and went 3-1 with wins over “tough” teams Dallas and Green Bay last year. The bottom line is you can’t make predictions based on strength of schedule. There are too many variables that change from one year to the next or even one week to the next. Green Bay didn’t really look like a playoff team much less a champion until the last couple weeks of the regular season.
    Also, don’t count out the Bears just yet. While they haven’t made any flashy moves, they have gotten better in a couple of spots, namely WR and DL positions. you can say what you want about Roy Williams, he’s as good as anything they had at the position last. Not to mention his best years were under Martz. If the OL improves at all, (it can’t get much worse) the offense could dangerous.

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