The Bears are giving rookie Jordan Mills a look as the starting right tackle, leaving veteran J’Marcus Webb to take snaps with the second team at left tackle.
On Tuesday, Bears offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer indicated to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that Webb needs to be able to play multiple positions.
“He moved to the left side, and he had been working the right side, so it did take him a little time to adjust,” Kromer said, per the Tribune. “But if he’s going to be on our team, if he makes our eight, then he’s going to have to play more than one spot, and this is a great opportunity for him to get those reps. You don’t want to have to do it on Wednesday of game week. You want to do it early in the season so he has a feel for what’s going on.”
In a lot of ways, the 25-year-old Webb, who’s in the final year of his contract, has reached a crossroads in his career. In the best-case scenario, he starts on the right side, plays well, then hits free agency next year in the prime of his career.
If he doesn’t win the right tackle job, he needs to prove he can be a capable swing backup, and should he get a chance to play, he needs to show well. His relatively young age and solid experience base (44 starts) can be assets for him next spring should he test the market. However, by not starting in 2013, he could hurt his earning potential.
In the worst-case scenario, he doesn’t make the Bears, and then it’s up to the other 31 teams to decide his NFL fate. The guess here is that someone would else would take a look at him, but if he were claimed on waivers, he wouldn’t get his choice of team.
In short, Webb needs to respond well to this challenge, and he can still craft a solid NFL career for himself if he does so.