Where Was Teven Jenkins on Sunday?

A jolt of pre-game energy hit me when Teven Jenkins was not on the Bears’ list of innactives for Sunday’s game against the Falcons. And after missing last week with a hip injury, it was looking like Jenkins was going to suit up and return to his right guard position. But it didn’t happen.

Instead, Michael Schofield resumed duties as the team’s starting right guard. And struggled mightily. So much so, it was curious to see Jenkins not sub in at any point of a game in which Schofield was struggling mightily as a pass-rusher.

So … what happened?

The explanation from Matt Eberflus is a bit of a head-scratcher, with the Bears’ head coach declaring Jenkins was healthy enough to play in an emergency (and, apparently, only in an emergency\):

In other words, Jenkins’ hip is still clearly bothering him. And suddenly, I’m upset about how this was handled.

Because while I can appreciate Jenkins wanting to be available for his teammates while at less than 100 percent, the team should’ve taken a different path with gameday playing time. Because Michael Schofield played poorly enough to be benched mid-game. That the Bears couldn’t bring in someone off the bench to change it up when it was clear that things weren’t working up front is on a coaching staff that knew a potential rotation mate was mostly unavailable.

Watching Michael Schofield take a pair of bad penalties, fail to block twists and line stunts, and struggle mightily throughout the game was maddening enough. That Jenkins was active on gameday, but unavailable to play unless it was an emergency only adds to the frustration. If Jenkins’ hip was still bothersome, he shouldn’t have been active. And if Jenkins was telling coaches he was good enough to go only in an emergency role, then it should’ve been the coaches seeking out a healthier body to throw into the mix. The Bears essentially played a man short yesterday. It might not have been costly in obvious ways, but it could’ve been helpful to play with a full deck in a game that was ultimately a three-point Bears loss.

I’ll be curious to see how the Bears handle things the rest of the way. Jenkins is clearly the team’s most talented blocker along the line. But if he isn’t healthy enough to be a full go, then the team should see this as an opportunity to give other players tryouts. Maybe Alex Leatherwood is finally up to speed. Perhaps Larry Borom can slide into a different position.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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