Bears OTAs Roundup: Justin the Fields General, O-Line Shakeup, Attaochu's New Role, More

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Bears OTAs Roundup: Justin the Fields General, O-Line Shakeup, Attaochu’s New Role, More

Chicago Bears

This is the last week of Bears OTAs before full-squad mandatory minicamp kicks off on June 14. Let’s catch up on what is happening with Chicago’s football team.

Obsessive Justin Fields Development Watch

I’m here for all the Fields love you can throw on my plate:

Justin Fields taking well to his mechanical adjustments is welcome news. As is the chatter suggesting an increased leadership role. And while it is neat that we’re hearing it from the head coach, I find it interesting that defensive tackle Justin Jones chimed in with similar sentiments.

Jones spent the first four years of his career with the Los Angeles Chargers. Which means he has spent the last two seasons watching Justin Herbert’s growth with a front-row seat. In other words, Jones should have an idea of what the second-year leap looks like for a young QB. So even though Fields doesn’t have the weapons Herbert had out west, I still share Jones’ excitement regarding the year to come for Fields.

Movement Along the Offensive Line

The five words in the headline above are probably triggering to Bears fans who are far too familiar with game situations in which movement along the offensive line leads to a penalty that pushes the offense back five yards and increases the likelihood of the possession ending with another disappointing punt. But on the other hand, those five words could bring hope to the future. That’s because the Bears were shuffling the offensive line once again.

As Alex Shapiro (NBC Sports Chicago) reports, the Bears had a bevy of position swaps in the trenches:

⇒   Braxton Jones was getting first-team reps at left tackle. That’s a notable leap for a rookie Day 3 pick.
⇒   Larry Borom, who has been spending time as LT1, slid over to the right tackle slot opposite of Jones
⇒   Teven Jenkins was taking second-team snaps at right tackle. This represents a slide down the depth chart for Jenkins.

To be clear, I don’t want to put too much stock into evaluating offensive linemen before the pads come on. Even still … these are notable movements.

Giving Jones, a fifth-round pick, first-team reps at left tackle is equal parts trial-by-fire and projection from the staff for what they might think the Southern Utah product could be when he fully develops. Shifting Borom to first-team right tackle reps could hint at something similar. Might the Bears see Borom as a potential swing tackle? That would make the 2020 fifth-rounder extra valuable in the grand scheme of things.

On the flip side, I’m curious what this means for Jenkins. This is the second time Jenkins has been knocked down a peg on the organizational ladder. Firstly, with the move from left tackle to the right side. And now with the slide onto the second team. There is so much time for this to shake out, so I don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse in June. But let’s not lose sight of these changes (even if they’re only temporary).

Practice is Hard

Some interesting perspective from returning vets Cody Whitehair and Cole Kmet:

Perhaps this learning curve is what caused the Bears to fall into being in violation of the NFL’s non-contact rules during OTAs. So long as no one was seriously hurt, maybe this can be a teachable lesson for coaches, staffers, and players alike.

Extra Points

•   Is it just me or are we always seeing tweets like the one below about the Bears defense being ahead of the offense this time of year?

OK, so it’s not all defense all the time:

•   Jeremiah Attaochu was brought in to play a pass-rushing outside linebacker role last offseason. A year later, Attaochu finds himself re-visiting a position he hasn’t been in for quite some time:

•   The Bears could save $3.1 million in cap space by cutting Attaochu. But maybe they’ll use him in a reserve role. Or perhaps the team could move him later in the summer if another team needs pass-rushing help. For now, Attaochu represents worthwhile depth at a position where you can’t have too many players.

•   On the other side of the ball, that offensive line is getting lean:

ICYMI: Teven Jenkins made some radical physical changes this offseason.

•   Jaylon Johnson is back working with the 1’s on defense, per The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. Johnson’s time with the second-unit (albeit, a short-lived stint) was an eye-opener. Although, it is also worth pointing out that rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon wasn’t at Wednesday’s practice. As a reminder, these OTAs are voluntary. With that in mind, I won’t read too much into his absence.

•   ICYMI:

•   The big winner of Tuesday’s OTAs getting banged was Cole Kmet, who Brad Biggs (Tribune) reports got a round of golf in due to the schedule change. I’m not a golfer, but yesterday sure was a nice day to swing a club.

•   Some more fallout from PracticeGate:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.