Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Chicago Bears are about to make changes along the offensive line.
No. Seriously. It’s happening this time, according to Chicago sports broadcaster David Kaplan:
And confirmation from Bears sideline reporter Mark Grote:
From left to right: Braxton Jones (left tackle), Michael Schofield (left guard), Lucas Patrick (center), Teven Jenkins (right guard), and Larry Borom (right tackle). No, this isn’t a set of sweeping changes. But the small tweak ahead of Monday Night Football’s game against the New England Patriots insn’t incosequential.
Firstly, it sends Sam Mustipher to the bench. Mustipher has started 30 games since debuting in 2020, which we shouldn’t discard off-hand. But Mustipher’s struggles have been a main talking point for fans aching for changes in the trenches. The line switch also slides Patrick to center, a position he signed on to play back in March. Patrick and Justin Fields were hitting it off during the offseason training program before a thumb injury on Patrick’s snapping hand caused him to start the year in a guard rotation with Jenkins. This move also installs Schofield as a start in place of Cody Whitehair, who is currently on IR. In case you’re curious, Whitehair can’t return until the Bears’ Nov. 6 game against the Dolphins — at the earliest.
So … this is it. What do you think?
For what it’s worth, it feels as if this line deployment is one we’ll be seeing for the next few weeks. In other words, you can feel what you feel now and then evaluate until it is time to switch again. And, in all honesty, there is nothing that makes me believe this is the last starting offensive line combinations we’ll have this season. After all, we could still see Alex Leatherwood at some point. Or perhaps a rookie (Ja’Tyre Carter) or veteran (Riley Reiff) could be next guy up on a re-worked depth chart. At this stage of the season, I’m not too far off from throwing all the names of healthy linemen in a hat and creating a starting five up by drawing names.
So, for now, a small change will have to do.