Bears Looking Long-Term with Kyle Long
By Ariel Gordon
When the 20th pick for the Chicago Bears at the 2013 draft was announced, a shocked fan got up and yelled, “Who the (bleep) is Kyle Long?"
By the way things are going, that fan, along with the rest of the Bears fan base, will not be forgetting his name anytime soon.
Long has been the stand-out at the Bears training camp and it's not because he makes the rookie mistake of carrying his own pads off the field. Long, the son of hall of famer Howie Long, started only 10 games at Oregon after transferring from Sattleback Community College for his senior year.
When Long gets it going, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound right guard doesn't just carry out his blocking assignment, he single-handedly impacts the play at the line of scrimmage to perfection. He uses his speed (40-yard in 4.94 seconds at the Combine) and strength to take on veteran defenders. In the Bears' preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, the prodigal son made his debut with the first team and looked impressive.
He's looking more and more like the guy to protect Jay Cutler's right side. This fits in well with new head coach Marc Trestman.
Long got his second opportunity at the starting gig against the San Diego Chargers Thursday night. This time at Soldier Field, the rookie did not disappoint. Showing great poise and strength, Long committed no penalties giving Cutler plenty of time and running back Matt Forte plenty of room to run.
Long's only issue might be lack of knowledge and technique. He is bound to make some mistakes especially when the regular season begins. The uptempo offense prevalent at Oregon compromised development of proper technique and this may be Long's Achilles heel.
Barring any setbacks, Long could be a key player on the line that brings stability to the Bears offensive attack and keeps Cutler injury free and productive.
This could put Chicago back as a Super Bowl contender before all is said and done.