The Bears want Long to play left guard next season. This would mean veteran Josh Sitton would be moved somewhere else, most likely, right guard. Sitton has plenty of experience at the position. For the Green Bay Packers, he started 64 games there until he switched positions with fellow offensive linemen T.J. Lang. Last season, Sitton was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
The issue with this is that Long is still recovering from a nasty right ankle injury he suffered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Therefore, when the team is at Halas Hall on Monday Long will not be taking place in any of the activities and workouts. The Bears hope that Long will be able to get on the field and learn the new position before the start of the season, but nothing is evident at this point.
Long started at left guard while in college at Oregon. Still, the transition may not be as easy as some people originally believe. The change of position requires Long to develop and learn a new stance. Typically, left guards are athletic enough to help in pass blocking and a crucial part of getting running backs to the second level.
This is far from Long’s first position change in the NFL. In 2015, the Bears moved Long from right guard to right tackle just a week before the start of the season. Last season, he returned to right guard. If the rumors are true, this will be the third straight season of Long playing a new position come the opener.
The Bears offensive line is regarded as one of the team’s few strengths heading into training camp. However, a few injuries can turn that around really fast. Cody Whitehair is expected to remain at center, which will make things interesting when Hroniss Grasu is fully recovered from his ACL injury he suffered last training camp.
Both, Long and Sitton are very adaptable and should have no issues switching positions. How the rest of the offensive line plays out is going to be very interesting as we get closer to the team’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.