Tice: Carimi not all the way back yet
Offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, who missed the final 14 games last season with a knee injury, will take awhile before he is playing at full speed, according to Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
John Starks | Staff Photographer
Most of the hand-wringing during training camp and preseason involved the left tackle position where J'Marcus Webb is being counted on to improve upon a 2011 season in which he allowed more sacks than any NFL offensive lineman.
But offensive coordinator Mike Tice raised some concern Wednesday about right tackle Gabe Carimi, who is expected to be one of the anchors of the line.
The 2011 first-round pick earned a starting spot almost immediately as a rookie but missed the final 14 games with a knee injury that required two surgeries. Tice said Carimi is not yet 100 percent.
"He's going to take a while to be up to full speed. I don't believe he's all the way back yet," said Tice, who works extensively with the O-line. "The endurance in his leg is going to come with game time. We're going to certainly be very careful of it, if it appears that he's getting tired.
"We have other guys — Chris (Williams) — that can go and spell him if we have to, but I'm anxious to see (Carimi) play. I thought he came on real well at the end of preseason, really was run blocking well toward the end of preseason, and (his) pass protection has gotten better. I'm excited to see how he matures as a player and how he grows. He's a big part of what we're trying to do and what we're trying to be."
Before Carimi's injury last season, Tice called him the team's best offensive lineman. The former Wisconsin Outland Trophy winner said he's not overly concerned with his surgical knee.
"I feel good about it," Carimi said. "I don't think much about it. I have to warm up a little bit more, but besides that, I don't have to think much of it."
Linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) went through a full practice Wednesday, while safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and punter Adam Podlesh (hip) were limited. Running back Lorenzo Booker (head) was the only player who did not practice.
All indications are that Urlacher will play Sunday, although he may not be in condition to play every defensive snap. Bears coach Lovie Smith said there could be a situation where he would hold Urlacher or anyone else out for their own well-being, even if the player said he was OK.
"Guys are always going to say that they're ready to go," Smith said. "We'll always watch them and make that final decision."
Podlesh was able to punt the ball during practice, launching several kicks in excess of 50 yards.
Undrafted rookie punter Ryan Quigley remains on the roster, but Podlesh has not been ruled out yet for Sunday.
"That is still on the table," he said. "It's still to be seen, but things are going well so far."
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