Last year, Metcalf looked to be in a heated competition with Ruben Brown and Mike Gandy for one of two starting guard spots, but an ankle injury sidelined him during a crucial part of the evaluation process. As he sat, Brown and Gandy moved ahead Metcalf.
“Time off the field is time lost,” Metcalf said.
The massive amount of injuries and shuffling on the offensive line opened up a spot for Metcalf, as he started the final five games of the season at left guard.
Aside from gaining valuable experience, the six-foot-3, 318-pounder learned something working next to a four-time Pro Bowl center.
Olin Kreutz has been a mentor for Metcalf, who has backed him up at center over the course of his first three seasons in Chicago.
“That’s my dog,” Metcalf said. “We’ve developed a nice little friendship.”
Originally selected in the third round (93rd overall) of the 2002 draft, Metcalf has taken the majority of the first string reps throughout training camp and has started the team’s first two preseason games.
While he’s the frontrunner for the right guard job, Metcalf still needs to prove he’s the better option over free agent acquisition Roberto Garza.
“I don’t think that decision’s been made,” said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. “We’re still looking at it and we still have three more preseason games.
“Terrence has done a nice job, he’s doing a real good job but so has Roberto, so we’re giving him some looks.”
After working along side both Metcalf and Garza, Kreutz offers a different perspective of the competition.
"They're both physical right guards and they're very comparable," Kreutz said. "Of course, Garza has a little more quickness and Terrence is a little more powerful because of the way they're built.
"It's going to be a good battle to the end.''
At 27, Metcalf would be the youngest starter on a veteran offensive line where three players are 30 or over. Four of the linemen have at least 79 career starts in the NFL.
Although the junior member of the unit is well passed the hazing a rookie would receive, Metcalf is still learning from his elders.
“I am coached up, they keep me on my toes and let me know how things are supposed to be done,” Metcalf said.
The Bears surrendered a league-high 66 sacks last season, but the first team line has yet to allow sack in the preseason.
Continuity is something that lacked on the unit a year ago, with six different starting lineups in 16 games. It appears this group will be much improved.
“We have a veteran offensive line, so that’s very important,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “They’re all in good shape coming out of training camp and we feel real good about that.”