We knew changes were on the horizon when Matt Nagy took over as the Chicago Bears’ head coach, but one of the offseason’s under-the-radar moves – nose tackle Rashaad Coward was moving to the offensive line – is starting to pick up speed and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic details the process.
In there, you’ll see notes of Nagy watching practice film from late 2017 featuring Coward taking reps as a scout team offensive lineman during a time where the Bears were short-handed and pressed for healthy bodies. And when asked by the coach about switching positions, Coward expressed a willingness to do just that: “I told him I’ll do whatever it takes to win, I don’t care,” Coward said, via The Athletic. “As long as I can help the team. He said he’d give me a day to think about it. I was like, I might as well make the most of my opportunity.”
Coward did just that as he held his own in the Bears’ preseason debut against the Baltimore Ravens. The Bears started Coward at right tackle and he played on each of the team’s 76 offensive snaps. I would take that as a clear sign that the Bears want an extended look at the converted lineman and as a sign of faith that he was doing enough things right and/or well to merit a 100 percent snap share.
Further, Coward – as the second-team right tackle – should get a fair amount of playing time after the first-teamer get their work in after a few offensive series. From there, we’ll get another chance to see how much he’s taken to his new position.
Sometimes, all one needs is a clean slate and a fresh set of eyes on the situation to get things going. Fortune tends to favor the bold and outside-the-box ideas can be beneficial. And if it turns out the Bears have found a developmental lineman worthy of being the team’s next starting right tackle starting possibly in 2019 (remember, Bobby Massie is a free agent after this year) then the reward will certainly be worth the risk.
You’ll want to read Fishbain’s piece at The Athletic for a deeper look at this ongoing change.