The Bears are bringing back everyone on their starting offensive line, it’s just that two players might be in different places than when we last saw them line up.
Ryan Pace says we could see #Bears line up Cody Whitehair at left guard and James Daniels at center as things get rolling this offseason.
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) April 23, 2019
One month after Head Coach Matt Nagy offered up the possibility of center Cody Whitehair and left guard James Daniels switching spots, GM Ryan Pace piled on and mentioned it as something that could happen when the offseason training program allows for it. Remember, the first phase of OTAs allows for only strength and conditioning training, as well as rehabilitation.
This isn’t a whacky suggestion from the Bears’ brain-trust. Whitehair was drafted as a guard in 2016, but moved to center out of necessity when the team signed Josh Sitton as a free agent. Daniels was a stud center prospect out of Iowa at this time last year, but slid over to left guard to replace Sitton, who the Bears had parted ways with earlier in the offseason. Swapping a pair of players back to their original positions isn’t a far-fetched proposition. In fact, there is probably a case to be made that it’s the right thing to do for the long term.
Then again, it’s possible that the Bears could test the waters with Whitehair at guard and Daniels at center, see how it goes, and conclude that it’s best that things remain status quo. It wouldn’t be the first time the powers that be entertained a position change, only to keep things the same. The Bears chewed on the idea of moving Kyle Long to left guard and Josh Sitton to the right side, but nothing ever came of it back in 2017.
The Bears had one of football’s best offensive lines last season, but there is always room for improvement. Bringing back all of their starters (and top reserve) is good, but maximizing that group by putting each player at their best position could make the group even better. It’s something worth keeping an eye on as the offseason rolls on.