O-Line Did Improve in Preseason Finale

C Olin Kreutz (Scott Boehm/Getty)

If the Chicago Bears don't get better protection from their offensive line this year, then it simply does not matter what plays Mike Martz draws up or how good the skill-position talent is around Jay Cutler.

The questions about the offensive line's ability to protect the quarterback still haven't been answered as the Bears begin preparation for the regular-season opener Sunday.

Jay Cutler was sacked five times while playing just the first half against the Raiders in Game 2. The following week, he was dropped four times in two and a half quarters against the Cardinals. In the last preseason game, backup Todd Collins, playing the first half with the first team, was sacked just once.

Improvement? Maybe. But the spotlight will continue to focus on that group, which figures to have new starters at four of the five positions compared to opening day 2009. A year ago, left tackle Chris Williams was at right tackle and left guard Roberto Garza was at right guard. Right tackle Frank Omiyale was at left guard, and right guard Lance Louis was on the bench. The only constant is center Olin Kreutz. The shuffled line hasn't jelled yet, but it must soon. That group is the key to the offense.

"Offensive linemen are at a premium," general manager Jerry Angelo conceded, "but it's not that you have to have five all-stars. You have to have five guys who are good enough to play well together. That's the key to good offensive line play. The continuity of having those same five play together is critical. That's what we need to do." ...

By now, 5-7, 186-pound running back Garrett Wolfe knows a lot about beating the odds as a little man in a big man's game, and he appears to have come out on top again with a spot on the 53-man roster.

"I've been blessed beyond my wildest imagination," Wolfe said, as he prepares for his fourth season with the Bears. "I'm just happy to still have the opportunity to be here and compete at a high level and do the things necessary to earn a living."

It was assumed throughout training camp and the preseason that either Wolfe or Kahlil Bell would not make the final roster with Matt Forte and Chester Taylor slated to get the vast majority of the rushes and receptions in the backfield. But both have survived, which didn't shock Wolfe.


RB Garrett Wolfe
Scott Boehm/Getty

"Kahlil came out and practiced hard and prepared as well as I did," he said. "The numbers aren't something we can worry about. I know Kahlil wasn't worried about it, and it wasn't something I thought about. All we could do is go out and do the things necessary. We did a good job of that."

Wolfe's outstanding special-teams play is always a factor when it comes to final cuts. Before he missed the final eight games last season because of a lacerated kidney, Wolfe was tied for third on the team with nine special-teams tackles. The injury, which kept him bed-ridden and hospitalized for a week, gave Wolfe a greater appreciation for the basics.

"The simple things in life are very precious," he said. "Being able to walk or run, that's something that was taken away from me in an instant. Just having an opportunity to come out and run around and feel like an athlete again, it was something that I really take a lot of pride in. I'm happy that I can do those things again." ...

Although the Bears cut sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour Saturday, they were hoping to add him to their practice squad Sunday.

But the Cincinnati Bengals claimed the rookie from Downers Grove with the idea of developing him behind starter Carson Palmer and his brother Jordan Palmer. The Bengals chose to go with LeFevour rather than veteran J.T. O'Sullivan.

Because of the right shoulder injury to No. 2 quarterback Caleb Hanie, the Bears were forced to sign Collins, a 38-year-old veteran, and keep both backups on the final 53-man roster, giving them three QBs, one more than they kept active last year. The Bears could not afford to keep a fourth passer on the active roster at the expense of another position.


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