When Gabe Carimi tells you he’s the best tackle in the draft, it’s difficult not to want to buy into that confidence. “I’m completely confident in my game,” Carimi said at the 2011 NFL Combine. “I really don’t have any problems … I know I’m the best tackle out there, and I just have to play like it and act like it.”
But there may be more to it than that…
When the Bears drafted the Wisconsin tackle with the 29th overall pick, I think the collective feeling among Bears fans was that, finally, Jerry Angelo had done something good; maybe even something special. I, for one, was extremely pleased with the decision. It was a “gimme” pick for Jerry, but it was a great pick nonetheless. But with the NFL lockout resulting in a total lack of organized team work outs, what can we really expect from first-year tackle Gabe Carimi this season?
For an NFL rookie – especially one who’s expected to start in his first year – the offseason program is crucial. Not having that time to work with the veteran players and coaches will likely not bode well for the first season of many NFL newcomers.
Offensive linemen begin to build that continuity that they need starting from day one. For those of you who don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the habits of offensive linemen, they will almost always sit on the bench in the order they line up in. Nearly everywhere they go, they will walk together in that same way. From the time offseason workouts begin, until the very last snap of the season, offensive linemen are always to be in their proper spots, corresponding to where they line up on the field.
My overall point is simply this: If and when this NFL season starts, take it easy on the rook'! I wouldn't be surprised if he gets off to a slow start because of all the time that has been missed. I’m not suggesting to you that Carimi’s first season will be a bust by any stretch. I’m just hoping to curb the expectations. Chances are he won’t be golden from the start. Not having the opportunity to work with Coach Tice is, obviously, not a good thing.
Personally, I’m confident Carimi is going to be a really good tackle who should be able to protect Jay Cutler for years to come. He was born in Lake Forest, IL after all. Gabe Carimi and the Chicago Bears were just meant to be. But I also know how most Chicago fans think. A player sneezes the wrong direction or farts on the wrong side of the field, and he’s a bust in this city. Take into consideration that this is an unusual time for NFL rookies. And if we do end up getting a season, don’t forget that these guys haven’t had any OTAs or mini camps to help them prepare.
Now, if only the Owners and Players could stop bickering about their billions and come to an agreement...
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