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updated: 9/2/2011 11:28 AM

Bears' O-line fixed and ready to go?

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It's been replayed so often the last week that it has come to symbolize all that is right with the Chicago Bears.

Lance Louis explodes out of his stance at right guard and pulls in front of Matt Forte, plowing the field and leading Forte on an 11-yard run against the Titans.

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And that's all you need to know.

Bears offensive line? Problem solved. Start the regular season.

Really. It's just that simple.

Mike Tice may be a genius -- and we offer that with no sarcasm aforethought -- but there's a bit of irrational exuberance here.

Tice is amazing, having saved the season a year ago by salvaging a line slapped together with spit and gum.

While tossing out Thursday night's exhibition finale -- which is as useless a sporting event as any known to man -- it seems a bit premature to pronounce the Bears' offensive line fit and ready for the regular season based on Games 2 and 3 of the exhibition season that were marginally better than the first.

Just as it is absurd to worry about the Bears' defensive line because of a lack of pressure in the preseason, it's nearly impossible to judge the Bears' pass protection based on the same sample size.

Defensively, the Bears aren't showing anything to Atlanta and New Orleans just so they can satisfy those who want to see them get after the quarterback in August.

They've shown little in the way of stunts and blitzes, have mostly gone through the motions, and yet there's little doubt Julius Peppers will be Julius Peppers once the real games begin.

That's also why you can't draw any conclusions from the way the Bears' line handled opposing defenses in New York and Tennessee.

Yes, it was better than the first week, but it's hard to imagine Tice is giddy and believing he's suddenly got Pro Bowlers from left to right.

He still has a left tackle, J'Marcus Webb, who never has started a regular-season NFL game at that position.

His right tackle, rookie first-rounder Gabe Carimi, is switching tackle positions.

His best guard, Roberto Garza, is starting at center for the first time since 2001, and his two guards, Chris Williams and Louis, looked better in the middle two games but have many questions to answer.

The good news is the line has been better. It's a better story than if the line had been awful the entire preseason, but the bad news is it doesn't mean a whole bunch.

Yet, with talk of Forte wanting a new contract, Lance Briggs needing to renegotiate, Roy Williams being bad, Marion Barber hurt, Alex Brown available and Chester Taylor believing he'd been cut by the head coach who claims he said nothing of the sort, well, who has time for something as insignificant as the offensive line?

Really, it's been so very entertaining the last few days, but the real season is all about Jay Cutler, and his real season is all about having time to throw and remaining in the upright and locked-in position.

He was so battered and beaten last year that it's amazing he lasted until the middle of the NFC title game, mentally or physically.

But based on two preseason games, in which Cutler was still hit plenty but sacked only once, the Bears say they're quite comfortable with the line play and Cutler's protection heading into September.

The reality, however, is that no one really knows what the line can do, how much more help it will need from the tight ends and backs -- probably a lot -- and whether Mike Martz will be reasonable with his play-calling when the pressure is on and his desire to open it up is uncontrolled.

There is much optimism about all that in Chicago these days, and it's all based on two preseason games.

You just have to wonder if that helps Cutler sleep better at night.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM. Follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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