|Guard Lance Louis' performance was one of the few bright spots on the offensive line in an otherwise ugly showing against the 49ers. (US Presswire)|
Regardless of Jay Cutler's possible return, there will be a change -- and maybe multiple changes -- to the Chicago Bears' starting lineup on offense after Monday's debacle against the San Francisco 49ers.
One change will be at left guard. Starter Chilo Rachal has been placed on the reserve/left squad list due to personal reasons. Beyond that, offensive coordinator Mike Tice stopped just short of naming names, but change looks to be coming at the tackle position, where both right tackle Gabe Carimi and left tackle J'Marcus Webb have struggled mightily. Tice's comments seemed to indicate that veteran backup Jonathan Scott, signed in early September, will get a start at one of the two tackle spots.
"We're looking at everything," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "We have to find a better way."
Scott played for both the Steelers and Lions before being signed by the Bears. He has been in the short-yardage and goal-line offense for the Bears, in addition to special teams.
"Jonathan has played good football in his career," Tice said. "He's been mostly a career backup. He has started. He started against Denver last year in the playoffs.
"He's a big presence and we've been playing him a little bit as a tight end, trying to get him in there and get his legs underneath him and see what he can do. And he's done a solid job."
Carimi, the 2011 first-round draft pick from Wisconsin, looked lost at times as 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith piled up 5.5 sacks.
"He gets all worked up and he doesn't settle down and it compounds it," Tice said. "It's happened more than once. It compounds and it keeps building. So, he's a young player and he has to work through it."
Webb didn't rate much better.
"You know, it all boils down to him, when he uses his hands," Tice said. "He's OK. He's not bad. And the few times this game that he used his hands, he blocked his guy. But when he doesn't use his hands, he's just a big, tall guy out there getting edgy and getting knocked around."
As for making a change there, Tice said, "It's a business, it's the way it is. That's what it's about and that's where we're at right now offensively, on a short week, which is good because we've got to make decisions and move and go."
The only other real option the Bears have at this point at tackle is moving right guard Lance Louis out to right tackle, where he played last year after a season-ending injury to Carimi, or using James Brown, an undrafted rookie.
"It's not like at this point of the season you could take a James Brown, who I'm very high on ... and say, 'OK, you're the guy now,' " Tice said. "That's (using Scott) desperation.”
Rachal has been plagued by penalties after replacing Chris Spencer early in the year. With Rachal now out of the mix, it could mean either Spencer returning to start or Edwin Williams starting. William started last year after Chris Williams suffered a season-ending injury at midseason.
Not all the Bears offensive linemen rolled up into the fetal position against the Niners -- it only seemed that way. Tice liked the way Louis played at right guard, and so did teammates.
Lance, man, we can win with that type of effort," WR Brandon Marshall said. "He was just throwing guys around. I'm proud to say I'm his teammate, you know, because those are the type of guys you want to win with."
None of the offensive linemen available in the locker room seemed surprised by talk of lineup changes.
"There's never job security when you put up a performance like that across the board," C Roberto Garza said.
Cutler said there are things within reason that he can do to help the O-line.
"Gain maybe 100 or so, 100 pounds," he joked. "We're gonna have to help them. We're gonna have to do some stuff protection wise, chip (block), slant some guys (receivers), get the back involved, the tight ends, be smart with our play calling, try to limit second and long and third and long.
"There are a lot of things to do. But ultimately there are going to be some times where we are going to have to let those five block and they're going to have to do their job as well."
Beyond the offensive line, other things must change with the offense, which has now dropped to 30th in the 32-team league, and 31st in passing. One of those things won't be Tice turning play calling over to QB coach Jeremy Bates.
When asked about that, coach Lovie Smith said harshly: "There's no consideration of that; I don't know where you got that from."
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.