The battle to be the starting left guard for the Chicago Bears is going to come down to the final days of the preseason. During my film evaluation of the offensive line, I intently focused in on Chilo Rachal and incumbent Chris Spencer. Spencer is the starter for the time being based on the fact he was one of the best performing offensive linemen of 2011.
He was the starting RG for the Bears after being the center for the Seahawks for a few years. Spencer made the switch this off-season to LG for the first time in his NFL career. After two games of watching film on Chris Spencer, one thing is clear, his job is in jeopardy.
He has struggled mightily against both the Broncos and Redskins in his starting role at LG. During the Bears second drive of the first quarter Spencer got one good block on a linebacker and then followed it up with four straight bad plays. He gave a pass pressure, then got blown back at the point of attack by a linebacker who got in on the tackle on Forte, followed that up with a false start penalty and then gave up another pass pressure on Cutler by failing to pick up the delayed blitz on the linebacker.
Although there was marginal improvement on the first drive, on the second drive things seem to completely fall apart. This lackluster performance puts Spencer's job squarely on the line, even with his versatility. The Bears have that same type of versatility in Edwin Williams, so the Bears could look to move in a different direction.
Chilo Rachal on the other had a pretty good game against the Redskins, especially as a run blocker. Rachal has put together two solid efforts compared to the below average efforts from Spencer. Rachal was known as a mauler of a run blocker in 2010 with the 49ers but lost some of that fire in 2011.
In the game against the Redskins Rachal's take no prisoners run blocking mentality seemed to return. After Spencer's mistake filled offense drive, Rachal came in immediately and completely blew the DT off the ball, walked him down the field five yards on the Michael Bush touchdown run.
Rachal had some minor struggles in pass protection early but settled down later in the game to perform well.
Two games in and two games left and Rachal is clearly pushing Spencer for his roster spot. This will be a battle that goes down to the final preseason game.