On Monday morning, as the Chicago Bears returned to Halas Hall, head coach Matt Nagy announced the team would be activating the 21-day window for offensive tackle Teven Jenkins to return to practice. Jenkins, who’s been sidelined since training camp due to back surgery was the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
After spending fours at Oklahoma State as a key piece of the Cowboys’ offensive line, the Bears traded up 13 spots to nab Jenkins and solidify the left side of the offensive line. As Jenkins gets ready to return to practice, the Bears will take a number of precautions, including easing Jenkins back into practice.
With eight games left in the 2021 season, the Bears’ best hope is Jenkins gets enough playing time to get acclimated to the NFL game, including understanding how to handle bigger, stronger, and faster defensive lineman.
“We’ll have to really get him in here and see where he’s at,” said Bears head coach Matt Nagy on Monday morning. “It’s been a while since Teven’s put the pads on so we’ll start there but that’ll be exciting for us to see.”
The goal for the Bears is simple: See what Jenkins can and can’t do. After spending his final college season as a right tackle, the Bears opted to move Jenkins to the left side of the offensive line, hoping his size and strength would make him an ideal pass blocker to protect rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
“Where he’s at, I know he’s really anxious and excited to get out there,” Nagy said. “As far as the sides, that stuff that we’ll work through with him but it’s always a positive when you have somebody especially when you draft a guy like we did early in the draft and for him to be able to do what he has to do now to get back to this point.”
After overhauling the offensive line during the offseason, Jenkins’ return to action comes at a time when the Bears need an additional boost. Currently, in the middle of a four-game losing streak, Fields has played well enough to keep the Bears in the last two games but the offensive line hasn’t been a major difference-maker. With Jenkins’ addition, maybe that can change.