The Chicago Bears made Chris Williams their highest-drafted offensive linemen in more than a quarter century, but they now are expected to move Williams inside because they don’t want to move a seventh-round rookie or a former undrafted free agent.

The Chicago Bears made Chris Williams their highest-drafted offensive linemen in more than a quarter century, but they now are expected to move Williams inside because they don’t want to move a seventh-round rookie or a former undrafted free agent.

Williams, the No. 14 overall pick in 2008, missed his rookie season with a back injury and then moved to right tackle in 2009 to make room for aging free-agent Orlando Pace. Now, after Frank Omiyale has filled in for Williams for 3 ½ games at left tackle and rookie J’Marcus Webb played well on the right side last week, the Bears are expected to plug Williams in for left guard Roberto Garza on Sunday against Seattle. Garza will be out after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Williams returned to practice Wednesday after injuring his hamstring against Dallas.

"You could put him in there and affect one position or move somebody and affect two," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "Coaches are always reluctant to do that.

"To start moving those guys around and start playing roulette with them, it’s hard enough as it is. We’re trying to keep it as calm as we can and leave guys in place and let them grow and get used to each other as much as we can."

If Williams moves, it won’t be because his replacement has played like an All-Pro. The Bears (4-1) gave up nine first-half sacks two weeks ago and Omiyale was whistled for two penalties last week.

"Like every guy that’s played left tackle, he has a glaring boo-boo and it’s like playing corner, it shines and everyone can see it and they say he played like (junk)," offensive line coach Mike Tice said. "But, really, in the scheme of things, Frank played pretty good football Sunday for us."

Teams pay more for left tackles because they are supposed to be pass-blocking specialists. Williams hasn’t panned out the way Jim Covert did as Chicago's No. 6 overall pick in 1983.

"At this stage of his career, I think he’s probably a better run blocker than anything," Tice said. "I know he doesn’t want to do that, but I just evaluate the job he’s done and make a determination that way."

"He’s natural inside because he’s so stout," Martz said. "That helps us in protection and the running game, too. We just need to get our best guys on the field who are healthy and ready to go."

Head coach Lovie Smith said "we have options with Chris" and that players controlled their own fate.

"Guys by their play tell you who should start and who should play what position," Smith said. "Just let them practice, let them play and that becomes obvious to everyone."

Center Olin Kreutz is expected to be the only Game 1 starter at his original position Sunday. So, when do the Bears plan to stop making line changes and settle on starting five for the rest of the season?

"Sunday, this week. That’s the time," Tice said. "We’re not going to look back."

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.