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updated: 8/20/2011 8:37 PM

Bears O-line has lots to prove against Giants

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  • The last time the Bears played the Giants, the the Giants' ferocious pass rush sacked quarterback Jay Cutler 9 times.

    The last time the Bears played the Giants, the the Giants' ferocious pass rush sacked quarterback Jay Cutler 9 times.


Even without Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday and could miss the regular-season opener, the Giants present a challenge for any team in pass protection.

So Bears rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi and especially second-year left tackle J'Marcus Webb, who must protect Jay Cutler's blind side, have a tough test Monday night against a defense that was No. 4 in sacks last season. Webb was a pleasant surprise last year, but he played the less-demanding right tackle spot.

"This is good for him," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "There's a reason why he's on the left side, and if you're going to play on the left side then you're going to play against the best in the league. He needs to adapt to that and understand that it's different than being on the right side. That's an adjustment for him as a young player to realize. You've got to amp it up because you're going to see the best there is."

The offensive line is expected to play as much as the entire first half.

Crowded house:

G.M. Jerry Angelo has always been a proponent of having depth at running back, and this year's team appears to have plenty behind starter Matt Forte. There might not be enough roster space for veteran Chester Taylor.

Taylor had just 3 carries for 3 yards in the preseason opener, while Marion Barber rushed seven times for 45 yards and Kahlil Bell picked up 73 yards on 13 carries.

"We want to have a good stable of running backs," Angelo said. "Personally, that's always been a goal of mine. You can't have enough good running backs, particularly here in Chicago. We feel like we've got a good handful of running backs, and we feel they complement one another. They can all do something as little bit different and obviously that will bode well for us."

Undrafted, not unnoticed:

Coach Lovie Smith has been impressed with this year's rookie class, but he also likes what he's seen from the large class of undrafted rookies.

"A few of those guys have a chance to stick around here for a while," Smith said.

First-round pick Gabe Carimi is the starting right tackle, second-round defensive tackle Stephen Paea is getting second-team reps, as has third-round safety Chris Conte. Sixth-round linebacker J.T. Thomas got some first-team reps early, before re-signed free agent Nick Roach was allowed to practice.

But undrafted players like wide receivers Dane Sanzenbacher and Kris Adams, and defensive end Mario Addison have all earned a longer look.

Heading for home:

The Bears broke camp Saturday and moved their preseason operation to Halas Hall, but some of them will miss Bourbonnais. Some won't.

"I can't even pronounce this city first of all," wide receiver Roy Williams said. "But it's a great city. Is it a city or a town? Yeah, I'll miss it."

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