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Garza empathizes with rookie linemen

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 14, 2013 – 11:07 am

It’s been 12 years since Roberto Garza entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick with the Atlanta Falcons, but the veteran center still can empathize with Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.

The two rookie linemen were elevated to the starting unit this week in practice, with Long lining up next to Garza at right guard and Mills replacing J’Marcus Webb at right tackle.

“We’ve all been through learning the offense in training camp and making those rookie mistakes,” Garza said. “We have to learn from our mistakes. Kyle and Jordan are doing a hell of a job of going in there and stepping up and going against the ‘ones’ and making that transition. It’s an evolving process. But those kids are both very talented and have a bright future ahead.”

Garza remembers the challenges he faced when he left Texas A&M-Kingsville to join the Falcons.

“You’re trying to learn the offense, you’re trying to do things the right way, and then you’re going against the best guys in the world,” Garza said. “So there’s not a lot of room for error. As soon as you start to think, the play’s over with. It happens so fast. You want to do it right and you’re trying.

“Sometimes you just don’t do it. You’ve just got to learn from it, not make the same mistakes twice. Sometimes you get so involved in everything you’re doing, you kind of lose control. But definitely these guys are level-headed and doing a great job of letting the play go and going onto the next.”

Long and Mills have both praised Garza for the help he has provided them. The 12-year NFL veteran feels that it’s his duty to assist young players.

“When I first [joined the Bears], I was in my fifth year and I had Olin [Kreutz], Ruben [Brown], Fred [Miller] and John Tait,” Garza said. “I had guys that had started in the NFL for a very long time. They took me under their wing and taught me a lot of things, so now I feel it’s my turn to share all the knowledge that they passed on to me; how to do things, how to work, how to learn, how to study, and how to bring your best out when it’s needed.”

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Bears to break out pads Sunday

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2013 – 7:30 pm

After opening training camp with two non-contact practices as mandated by the CBA, real football returns Sunday morning when the Bears work out in pads for the first time since last season.

“When you put the pads on, everything is strictly business,” said second-year guard James Brown.

“It’s time to go out there and work on the stuff that you can really work on,” said center Roberto Garza. “In shorts, there’s only one speed. When you start hitting people, that’s when the real fun begins. And that’s when we can really start working and getting ready for the season.”

The most contact in padded practices typically is generated in the trenches by defensive linemen rushing the passer and offensive linemen finishing their blocks.

“We’re going to see collisions at the line of scrimmage,” said coach Marc Trestman. “It will be more physical. You’re not going to see players on the ground. You’re going to see very few collisions on the perimeter because we’re going to practice the concepts of cooperation and respect among our team. But where you’ll see the change in our practices is on or near the line of scrimmage, at the first level with our offense and defensive lines and at the second level collisions with our linebackers and defensive backs that are close to the line of scrimmage.

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Garza happy to be heading home

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 27, 2012 – 5:49 pm

Bears center Roberto Garza will never forget the first time he met a professional athlete.

Garza had just graduated from Rio Hondo High School in southern Texas when he got a chance to chat with Cowboys star Tony Casillas. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle had won two Super Bowl rings with Dallas, and at the time was one of the few Hispanic players in the NFL.

“I was a huge Cowboys fan,” said Garza, whose parents had emigrated to Rio Hondo from Mexico shortly before he was born. “Knowing who he was and with a [Hispanic] last name like Casillas, he was someone I looked up to, and getting a chance to meet him was awesome.

“I remember telling him I was going to [the University of Texas A&M at] Kingsville and my dream was to someday play in the NFL. He said, ‘Work hard and give everything you’ve got.'”

Now a 12-year NFL veteran, Garza is excited about returning home to face the Cowboys Monday night in Dallas.

“It’s great,” Garza said. “I have 75 people coming to the game. It’s always fun to play in your home state against a team you grew up rooting for.”

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Players pleased officials will return

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 27, 2012 – 3:44 pm

Like the rest of the football world, Bears players are happy that the NFL’s regular officials will be back on the field this weekend after agreeing to a new labor deal with the league late Wednesday.

“Getting those guys back, I think it’s just going to clean up the game,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “Games are going to move along. The indecision is going to go away, which I think is the biggest thing you’ve seen across the league is just the indecisiveness.”

“It’s good to have those guys out there,” added center Roberto Garza. “They know what’s going on. They are up to speed with the game and the way things are called and as quick as everything happens now. So they will have that taken care of.”

While receiver Brandon Marshall is pleased that the regular officials are returning, he sympathizes with the replacements and the slew of criticism they’ve taken.

“I’m just happy it’s over,” Marshall said. “We get some of those guys back that we’re familiar with and hopefully the game is a little cleaner.

“But when I look at it I have a lot of compassion for those [replacement] refs. When you take those guys and throw them in the fire so quickly, everyone’s dogging them and that’s tough, man. So I’m glad that it’s over, but at the same time those guys did the best that they can do and I appreciate that.”

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Bears games to be broadcast in Spanish

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 28, 2012 – 4:19 pm

The Bears and WLEY-FM “La Ley” on Tuesday announced a new radio partnership that will bring Bears football games to Chicago’s Hispanic radio listeners.

Beginning this season, WLEY-FM “La Ley” will broadcast all Bears games on 107.9 FM in Spanish with the on-air team of Jose Luis Marquez “El Pitufo” and Liz Liz “La Dama del Deporte.”

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring the Bears closer to the Hispanic fans that we have,” said team president and CEO Ted Phillips.

“We know there are a lot of Hispanic fans. To us, this is the first step in what we hope will be a longer and deeper relationship so that we can get involved more in the Hispanic communities and provide more touch points for our fans so they can get closer to the team and the station.”

The Bears are the 14th NFL team to offer broadcasts of their games in Spanish, joining the Cardinals, Panthers, Cowboys, Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Vikings, Raiders, Eagles, Chargers and 49ers.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Chicago Bears and ‘La Ley’ to reach out to the community and our great fan base that loves the Chicago Bears,” said center Roberto Garza, whose family emigrated from Mexico to Rio Hondo, Texas, about a year before he was born.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to reach out into that community and expand on what they know about football and expand on their passion and loyalty to the Chicago Bears.”

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