The Progression Of Kyle Long

Kyle Long


Kyle Long practicing during the Bears rookie minicamp in May {photo courtesy of google}.


BOURBONNAIS- Despite not being able to participate in the full squad minicamps or OTAs during the Spring, rookie offensive guard Kyle Long has still managed make quite the impression on the Bears coaching staff.

The Bears released their first depth chart of the 2013 season earlier today, and the 24-year-old is listed as a “co-starter” at right guard along side second-year player James Brown. NFL rules regarding college graduates prohibited the former Oregon Duck from participating in the offseason workouts in late May and early June.

Long did not officially graduate from the University of Oregon until mid June. NFL rules state explicitly that rookies cannot participate in full team workouts until they officially graduate.

Despite being absent from Halas Hall, Long did participate in team meetings via Skype and trained vigorously to stay in shape. When the Bears opened training camp a little over two weeks ago, Long was on a mission to prove himself. After he was drafted in April (20th overall), there were some questions and doubts about Long’s abilities.

During his senior year at Oregon, Long only played four games at guard. Before then, he was a defensive lineman at the junior college level just like his Hall of Fame father Howie and his older brother Chris {currently playing for the St. Louis Rams}. His lack of experience at the position combined with learning a completely different offense compared to what he played in college, the 300-pounder had his work cut out for him.

Many had wondered if Bears general manager Phil Emery made the right decision in using a first round pick on what many believed to be a developmental project. When the Bears held their rookie minicamp in May, Long was the center of attention. And he would shine in his limited opportunities.

He showed his attention to detail, a willingness to learn, an understanding of the playbook and the mental capacity to learn and adjust to an NFL offense. When he was unable to participate in the team workouts in the proceeding weeks, there were questions as to how his development would be effected when training camp started.

Now it is August, and Bears head coach Marc Trestman and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer have been praising the work that Long has put in. Long has made the effort to learn the offense, adjust to new techniques, become a better blocker and improve his skills.

Long has also made strides in getting stronger, moving faster and becoming a complete offensive player. During the first day of full contact, Long showed great upper body strength, solid leverage, excellent footwork and his knowledge of the playbook. Since then, Long has continued to grow and develop as a player at a rapid pace.

That rapid pace is exactly how he needs to excel to prove himself worthy of starting in the National Football League. Especially since the Bears are rebuilding the offensive line in the hopes of scoring more points and returning to the playoffs.

Long has already garnered the praise of his coaches and teammates, now he needs to win their favor so he can be the starter on opening day.

Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82


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