A hard luck run of injuries and retirements has left the New England Patriots' offensive line full of holes. In a year of championship hopes, could the team gain some needed depth from the Chicago Bears in tackle Chris Williams?
Losses of Matt Light and Robert Gallery leave Pats very thin
No unit is more important to the success of an offense than the offensive line. It was why Tom Brady has become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Now, in a season full of promise, it could all fall apart. The Patriots have always found ways to fill roster needs but not nearly at the rate they're appearing on o-line. Anchor left tackle Matt Light retired after last season. Veteran guard Brian Waters hasn't reported for camp. Worse yet, free agent Robert Gallery chose to retire because of injury problems. Those losses cover up an even worse fact that swing tackle Sebastian Vollmer could leave after 2012 free agency. Never mind that left guard Logan Mankins is still recovering from an ACL tear. Put simply the New England Patriots are running out of bodies to put in front of their best player. Brady is not a runner. An offensive line breakdown can mean only bad things in Foxborough. Is there anything head coach Bill Belichick and the front office can do?
Rise of J'Marcus Webb has put Williams in a tough spot
One thing New England loves doing is grabbing forgotten players and turning them into solid pieces in their machine. If they are on the lookout for a linemen then their eyes may turn west where the Chicago Bears continue juggling their own line problems. The clearest roster battle stands between 2008 first round pick Chris Williams and seventh round pick J'Marcus Webb. Some thought Williams was ready at last to fill the role Chicago drafted him for, but all signs from training camp say that Webb has all but locked up the job. Offensive coÃ¶rdinator Mike Tice went on record saying the loser of the battle would fill in as the "swing" tackle, a reserve piece to plug in the right or left side in case of injury. It's nothing new to Williams who has played every line spot for the Bears except center since he got drafted. While not the most picture perfect player, Williams played well at left guard last season before a freak wrist injury. If his time in Chicago has run out, then a coach like Belichick would love to have that versatility on the Patriots. While a high draft pick is not possible, the Bears may have interest in some help at linebacker, especially with their star Brian Urlacher ailing from a knee sprain.
Chris Williams isn't a savior type of name for New England, but he can at least cover up the losses of Matt Light and Robert Gallery. The Chicago Bears seem set with J'Marcus Webb. A trade could benefit both teams.