Bears O-line shuffles due to injuries

Left tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jonathan Scott did not practice Wednesday, leading to a new unit up front that got off to a rough start.

BOURBONNAIS — Cory Brandon has not played in an NFL game, yet he was the first-team left tackle at the beginning of Wednesday’s practice.

Then Eben Britton, who has 15 starts in the past three seasons — most recently at guard — took over as the top left tackle for the majority of practice. Not an ideal look for a team that still has major questions along the offensive line. 

Jermon Bushrod remained out of practice with a right calf injury. He is still wearing a protective boot and considered day-to-day. Jonathan Scott bruised his knee early in practice and spent the morning with ice wrapped around it. Hub mentioned in his column yesterday that the Bears can't afford to lose Bushrod, and they had to go without his backup on Wednesday as well.

The shake-ups on the O-line led to a rough start for the whole offense following a day off. There were pre-snap penalties, and head coach Marc Trestman was visibly frustrated with a couple of them.

“You saw there were a bunch of pre-snap penalties that allowed us to look a lot sloppier than we have practiced throughout,” he said. Trestman did add that things improved as practice went along on the offensive side of the ball. 

James Brown continued to take almost all the snaps as the first-team right guard, with Kyle Long sprinkled in with the group for a few reps. Even with the injuries at left tackle, it is clear that J’Marcus Webb will not return to the blind side — he has stayed at right tackle.

Trestman saw the bright side of the moving parts along the O-line for Wednesday’s practice.

“Aaron [Kromer]’s mixing them up, we’re working through training camp to find the best five and the way to do that is to move people around and see who can play best at different positions and we’re going to be very patient with that,” he said.

Kromer, who serves as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, reiterated that they are working to find the best group of five players to protect Jay Cutler.

“Our goal is to find the best five. When we find the best five, it’ll be obvious,” he said. “Whether we put them at left guard, right guard, whoever they are, we’ll find them. And we don’t control when that’ll happen. It’ll just happen.” 

In five practices, we have now seen three or four different looks on the first-team offensive line. Britton said today was another example of the “next man up” philosophy and always having to be ready.

“Guys might go down and you have to be ready to step in there and get the job done just as well as the [starters].”

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