Chicago Bears: Versatility on OL now a silver lining for the team

teven jenkins, bears

The Chicago Bears offensive line has been ravaged throughout training camp. On paper, the expectation was that the starting five left to right would be: Teven Jenkins, James Daniels, Sam Mustipher, Cody Whitehair, and Germain Ifedi. Four weeks into training camp, the projected starting five has yet to practice together even once. Jenkins underwent back surgery that will sideline him indefinitely. Daniels dealt with a quad issue while Ifedi has been on the PUP list.

Injuries have forced the Bears to rely on a makeshift offensive line, providing second, third, and fourth-string players with the opportunity to receive additional reps throughout practice. Injuries to starters also provide the coaching staff with the chance to evaluate depth across the entire unit, a silver lining within itself.

“I think what you’ll see with most of our guys, is we got guys that can move across the board,” head coach Matt Nagy said via the Bears official YouTube page. “Left side, right side, they’ve kind of been forced to do that.”

Nagy is right. Injuries to key starters have forced the Bears’ offensive line to reshuffle multiple times, however, Chicago has also valued versatility in offensive lineman. Alex Bars and Larry Borom are two players that have been forced to learn multiple different positions throughout the course of training camp. Daniels and Whitehair are also players that have played multiple positions along the interior of the offensive line over the last two seasons.

As the Bears prepare to trim the roster down to 53 players, emphasis will be put on players who can play both left and right tackle but also switch to playing inside if needed. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo made the most of a makeshift offensive line last season with inconsistency at the quarterback position and injuries early in camp should see Castillo do much of the same as the regular season draws closer.

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