If Lovie Smith and the Bears’ coaching staff are worried about disrespecting seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace by starting left-tackle-of-the-future Chris Williams ahead of him, they should put Pace on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. That would solve the dilemma.
Lovie is fond of declaring that he will always start the “player who gives us the best chance to win,” in each game. But until Williams gets more of an opportunity on the left side, which is where he was drafted in the first round to play, it’s hard to determine whether he gives the Bears the best chance to win. Based on his performance this season, it’s hard to argue that Pace gives the Bears their best chance to win.
If the difference between Pace and Williams is negligible, which it appears at this point, then Williams has to start. He’s only going to get better. As great as Pace once was, he is on the downside of his career and will only become less effective.
With five straight starts at left tackle to end this already-lost season, Williams can get the experience he needs to be an effective starter next year and for the next decade.
Williams is the future, and the future is now.