The Bears said farewell to right tackle Jordan Mills on Sunday, setting the stage for guard Kyle Long to switch positions for the Packers in Week 1.
A fifth-round pick in 2013, Mills was a favorite for former offensive coordinator Aarom Kromer, who was willing to work with him through his mental mistakes, pre-snap penalties and erratic performances in pass protection.
The Bears’ new staff wasn’t willing to do that.
Mills, who started 29 games the last two seasons, struggled this preseason and lost his staring job to 2014 draft pick Charles Leno, who had his problems in Mills’ place.
The best scenario right now for the Bears is moving Long to right tackle, where he has practiced recently, and starting veteran Vladimir Ducasse at right guard.
According to Pro Football Focus’ analysis, Ducasse didn’t allow a sack or a quarterback hit in 158 snaps this preseason. He started six games last year for the Vikings.
“I feel comfortable [with the Bears],” Ducasse said recently. “When you’re number’s called, you just go in there and do your job.”
Ducasse said he’s been able to build a rapport with Long and other linemen at practice.
“Of course, it’s been positive,” he said. “You don’t have any other choice but to be positive.
“I better get along. Whatever way they want it, you better go out there and get it done. It’s the business. This is the NFL.”
Patrick Omameh, who was claimed off waivers, may turn out to be an option at guard, too. An undrafted free agent out of Michigan in 2013, Omameh started 16 games last year at right guard for Buccaneers.
But the Bears will have to wait on Omameh. Long and Ducasse already are a few practices into their work together.
“At guard, things happen a lot quicker,” Long said. “On the snap of the ball, you’re either beat or you’ve won right now. At tackle, you can see your death either happen really slowly or you can see success happen really slowly. There’s a lot of space out there.
“But honestly, you’re just trying to keep somebody away from Jay Cutler. At the end of the day, that’s the assignment.”
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