I found it refreshing when Bears coaches were parroting each other when relaying that Chicago’s starting offensive line would feature the five best players. Prior draft history, current contract status, and other things that would otherwise play into who should play when weren’t going to be part of the consideration process. That was a step away from what the Bears had been doing with the previous regime.
But after Cody Whitehair’s knee injury put him on IR, Chicago finds itself trying to unearth the best combination of five offensive linemen in its upcoming game in Minnesota. Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy has his work cut out for him:
So, how should the Bears go about finding their best five? Throwing some darts at a board and whoever has their name get hit gets to start. Hey, the Bears have tried worse ideas over the years. If the dart throw isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe drawing names out of a hat will work? And because it is so clear this group could use a shakeup, I wouldn’t be opposed to any alternative method in an attempt to unearth the best five starters.
Jokes aside, is it time to give Riley Reiff a try somewhere? Should Larry Borom slide over to guard? Or even left tackle in place of rookie Braxton Jones? Can Michael Schofield slide into the lineup somewhere? OK, so they’re not the best options. But the Bears could shake it up should they so choose.
Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t surprising that the Bears are playing coy with who they’ll line up along the offensive line in Week 5 against the Vikings. This is their M.O. (and has been for each of the last three coaching hires dating back to John Fox). But no matter how it shakes out, Teven Jenkins better be there. Period.
The Bears Should End the Teven Jenkins-Lucas Patrick Platoon
Jenkins grades out as PFF’s 17th highest graded guard among the 71 qualifiers for the leaderboard. And, yes, that puts him one spot ahead of all-world Colts guard Quenton Nelson in case you were wondering. His pass-blocking could use some work, but Jenkins’ run-grade checking in as the 15th best among all guards is a wonderful development for the second-year lineman. Frankly, if Getsy, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and Offensive Line Coach Chris Morgan fail to see that Jenkins is one of their five best linemen, I’m going to struggle finding confidence in the evaluation skills of the staff moving forward.
This isn’t to say that Jenkins is 1996 Larry Allen. But the eye test and metrics point to Jenkins being one of the best five linemen on the Bears. It is time to treat him like one, put him at right guard in the starting lineup, and let him stick there for the rest of the season.
No, the Bears won’t be whole when Whitehair returns from IR (whenever that may be). But perhaps, in his absence, the team can find bright spots elsewhere along the line. I’ll be curious to see what the starting line looks like in three days.