No Matter How He Plays, Get Rid of J'Marcus Webb

Good chance if you're reading this, you agree with the headline.  J'Marcus Webb is the punching bag of Bears fans, now more than ever with Lovie Smith jettisoned.

Bears recently traded away backup OG Gabe Carimi and there was not one, but two stories at the Trib.  Carimi played at RT and by all objective accounts (Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus), he was terrible.  He didn't get much better ratings at guard either.  This is when he actually played and wasn't injured.  Chris Williams, part 2.

Bears fans have responded by saying they got rid of the wrong guy:

 

Dave André ·  Top Commenter · Works at The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago
I would think they would have kept Carimi and gotten rid of Webb. Maybe the Bears know something about Carimi that we don't. I'd like to see the Bears use some extra picks and trade up in next years draft.
Reply · Like · Follow Post · 11 hours ago

Or:

Nick Garren ·  Top Commenter · Works at Teleperformance Group
for a pick that wont make the team...now the question remains, how is Webb still here?
Reply · 1 · Like · Follow Post · 15 hours ago

Or:

Rico Muscatel · Follow ·  Top Commenter · Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
They didn't give him a chance to come back from the knee injury. He would have been better than the pot head Webb at RT and he will prove to be a solid lineman for many years in the league. Bears blew it with Carimi.
Reply · 2 · Like · Follow Post · 9 hours ago

To be representative, across the 2 stories, of the 35 who commented across 25 posts and 51 comments, 16 of 35 (45%) thought trading Carimi was a good move, and 45% is actually pretty high in the comments section.  But this isn't the first time I've read comments stating Webb should be "gotten rid of".
One question:  Why?
When it comes to J'Marcus Webb, I think there's a pretty big gap between perception and reality.  The perception is that he's a horrible football player, a turnstile, a stiff.
The reality is quite different, according to Pro Football Focus:

Stud: I never thought I’d see the day where not only would J’Marcus Webb (-0.8) not be the weak link on this line, but also be the most consistent performer. He took a huge step forward this year in becoming an adequate left tackle. You can win football games with them.

So 3 reasons I'm going to defend J'Webb:
  • According to one objective source that watches every play (you didn't), Webb is a solid performer.
  • Webb was the most consistent performer on the offensive line.  Yes, it's a bad line, but you start by replacing your worst performers, not your best ones.
  • Webb should do even better being switched over to the right side, where his massive size will be more of an strength, and his inability to block speed rushers will be less of a weakness.
In short, J'Marcus Webb is an asset to a football team and if the Bears were to cut him, he'd have another job in no time.  If they want to trade him, they could likely get more than a 6th round pick for him.  If you want to see more change on the O-Line, I'd replace the aging and underwhelming Roberto Garza much sooner than Webb.
So why does everyone hate him?  My guesses:
  • 2011.  In 2011, the Bears offensive line was the worst in the league and no one player personified this like Webb.  As Cutler dropped back 7 steps and let his 4 receivers run long-developing, Mike Martz-styled routes, the defensive end would run around Webb and cream Cutler over, and over, and over again.  Defensive players pretty much ran over or around every member of the Bears' line that year, but the left tackle gets the spotlight.
  • The first Packers game of 2012.  On Thursday Night Football, in front of a national audience, Webb fell on his face.  Bears gave up 7 sacks, 3 to steroid-freak Clay Matthews.  The whole line sucked that night but again, Webb gets the majority of the ire.
  • The pot bust.  Many of us wish we could play in the NFL and the very idea that someone would do anything to jeopardize the opportunity strikes some of us as unfathomable, let alone something illegal and in many of our minds, stupid and unavoidable.  In my own mind, it's a lifestyle choice that should be legal, but getting busted doesn't say good things about Webb's intelligence or focus on his career.
I've already stated reasons for disagreement and I'll throw in my usual retort to anyone who says to "get rid" of Webb:  Who do you put in instead?  Solid offensive tackles don't exactly grow on trees.  I'm not excited about Jonathan Scott over there and he's definitely not a long-term solution.  Webb is not exactly the type of building block I like as a team's foundation.  But until the past few months, at least, he's the best we've got.

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