That headline eliminates the possibility of me leading into this story in a clever way. I heard St. Clair on the radio last night, and I have to say, this guy has earned the right to be called my favorite player right now. And he sounds like a really great guy.
I’ve always rooted for the underdog a little bit. Remembering that I’ve been watching the Bears since Walter Payton was in his fifth season, although I loved Walter, of course, I might have called a guy like Dennis Gentry my favorite player back in the day.
I’ve said this all about St. Clair earlier this season, and I’ll say it again. I watched him play right tackle for the Rams in 2002, and I shuddered for them, seeing him get beat all over the place. By 2003, St. Clair was no longer a starter at St. Louis. In 2004, he was a wise Wannstedt pickup, and I believe I saw him struggle there too.
I groaned a little bit when the Bears acquired St. Clair in 2005, but as a backup I figured the Bears must have known what they were doing. Plenty of backup offensive linemen never see the field. St. Clair started 2 games in 2005, and I admitted at the time that he filled in very solidly for Fred Miller and John Tait, once each. In 2006, he started twice again and was not noticed on the field, which is of course the best thing that can happen to an offensive lineman.
This brings me to training camp 2008. After the injury to rookie tackle Chris Williams, I figured the Bears were doomed on the line when they went into the season with St. Clair as their starting left tackle. The spot duty he played over the last few years was one thing, but seeing him get beat like a turnstile earlier in his career stuck with me.
After 7 Bears games, St. Clair could not have proven me more wrong. Granted, I think the Bears’ run blocking has not been strong, but the line is a major reason for the remarkably strong season Kyle Orton is having. St. Clair should be commended for making dopes like me look bad. I hope he keeps it up, and I’ll continue to praise him.