The Chicago Bears offensive line continues to be a bugaboo for this team. And it has led to a familiar refrain of calls for widespread changes to be seriously considered.
To this point, there hasn’t been any changes, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. Indeed, before the mini-bye, Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus said the team would use the extended layoff to evaluate players, scheme, personnel, and more. Then, when asked specifically about possibly switching it up in the trenches, Eberflus was playing coy:
Ahhhh, the infamous ”we’ll see.” (As a kid, ”we’ll see” often meant ”no.”)
Of course, we have no prior history with Eberflus. So ”we’ll see” could truly mean “we’ll see” in this situation. Reading these tea leaves with a first-year head coach isn’t an exact science. The only thing we know for sure is that it’s not a “No” right now. And that means it could be a “Yes” when the offense takes the field against the Patriots ”D” on Monday Night Football. Did you follow all that?
With that being said, I found this to be noteworthy:
Lucas Patrick splitting snaps with Sam Mustipher could be a sign that *IF* the Bears are about to make changes up front, they could be at center. Keep in mind that Patrick has been snapping for a month now. And yet, he hasn’t returned to that center spot.
Remember, Patrick signed on as a free agent to play that position. But an injury to his snapping hand put Mustipher in the starting lineup at center, which slid Patrick into a right guard platoon with Teven Jenkins. However, with the progress of Jenkins in his new role and struggles of Mustipher in the middle, the door to benching Mustipher is certainly open. Someone has to be the odd man out if changes are to be made, after all.
Of course, that creates a sizable vacancy at left guard. Is Michael Schofield a short-term fix? What about Riley Reiff, who is an offensive tackle by trade? Could he be the latest in a line of tackles turned guards? Should roomie Ja’Tyre Carter get a shot? None of these options are blowing my socks off. But I’m almost at a point where any change is better than the status quo.
In the end, it is a bummer to think about how long-term solutions for problems we’ve been bemoaning for years won’t present themselves again until the offseason. But in the meantime, the Bears need to do something to beef up the protection. Otherwise, I fear we’ll be barking up this tree weekly until changes actually happen.