Bears' productive offensive line faces early challenges
The Bears' offense made many changes during the 2013 offseason, the biggest improvement being a revamped offensive line. Two veterans on the left, Matt Slauson and Jermon Bushrod, along with two rookies on the right, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, surrounded veteran center Roberto Garza to form the most productive line since the 2006 Super Bowl unit.
However, Mills, a fifth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, went through surgery after suffering a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot in the first quarter of the NFC North title game.
"I know he still has to have some further evaluation, and that's just where we're at," general manager Phil Emery told ESPN when asked if Mills would miss any of the team's upcoming conditioning program.
Mills started every game for the 2013 season and only gave up three sacks in 1,022 snaps.
Running back Matt Forte, who played all 16 games for the first time since 2010, requested prayers for his teammate:
@MattForte22: "Y'all pray for my boy @JordanMills_67 getting surgery today. Minor setback for a major comeback. God bless."
Teammate on the line, Slauson, agreed to a four-year contract earlier this year, securing four of the starting five for the next three years. Garza is the final piece of the unit's puzzle.
"I've let Roberto know that I was proud of his season and obviously we will work through [contract negotiations], but we would like him back," Emery said. "And I'm sure he'll have some choices to make and we'll see how it goes. But very pleased with his season."
Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked 52 times in 15 games during the 2010 season; he was sacked 19 times in 11 games in 2013.