HomeSportsBears bring shaky offensive line depth in OTA rushing relief

Bears bring shaky offensive line depth in OTA rushing relief

Bears OTA bring shaky OL depth into sharp relief originally appeared nbc sports chicago

This year is all about Justin Fields Bear, GM Ryan Poles made it clear that he and the rest of the organization would not be able to fix all of the team’s problems in one season, but the front office made a concerted effort to give their QBs the tools they needed to develop. Needed. To an extent, they have been successful. Fields has a legitimate WR1 in DJ Moore, and more importantly, a new offensive line in front of him.

Last season, Fields was sacked 55 times, tied for the NFL lead with Russell Wilson. So the team drafted Darnell Wright at right tackle with their first-round pick and signed Nate Davis to assume the right guard spot. The Bears moved Tevon Jenkins and Cody Whitehair to left guard and center to try to get five of their best players on the line at the same time. The only person to stay in the same spot since 2022 is Braxton Jones, who steadily improved as the year progressed.

There are legitimate questions about whether everything will come together with so many moving parts, but expect the two additions and two position changes to elevate the unit’s play. There are good reasons to believe that things will work out, too. Wright is considered one of the most NFL-ready rookie linemen in this year’s class. Davis has a track record at right guard from his time at Tennessee. Whitehair also has a history of success at center, where the Pro Bowl approved his name at the position. Jenkins went through a position change last year and was arguably the most dominant player on the line when he was healthy. There’s no reason to believe he can’t adapt to changing sides, especially since he has experience playing left back both in the pros and in college.

If everything goes according to plan, it does not mean that everything will be fine for the whole year. In fact, Tuesday’s OTAs brought into sharp relief that the O-line is one of the most underrated positional groups on the team.

Davis did not attend Tuesday’s alternate OTAs, and so the Bears were left with J’Tyre Carter and Lucas Patrick starting reps at right guard. This is Carter’s second NFL season, and he only played 31 snaps on offense last season. This is as inexperienced as it gets for someone who was considered a project player when he was drafted. Patrick played guard in 2022 when his injured hand prevented him from spiking the ball, and it was a disaster. According to PFF, Patrick was the second least efficient guard at pass protection among players with at least 100 snaps.

Jones and Wright were both present at OTAs, but Davis’ absence also brought into focus the less-than-encouraging options behind tackles. The Bears have Larry Borom, Alex Leatherwood and Kellen Daish on their roster, but Borom and Leatherwood each struggled in limited playing time last year. Diash didn’t play at all last year, his rookie season. The Bears did not re-sign either Riley Reiff or Michael Scofield, each of whom played reliable snaps at points throughout the year.

It’s a reminder that while the Bears’ starting unit looks much better, they are only one injury away from an unproven or ineffective player. Offensive lines are usually only as strong as their weakest player, and injuries are practically common at the OL. is a given, so it’s a scary proposition as things stand. But fans shouldn’t panic just yet. It’s still May, which gives a player like Carter or Borom plenty of time to prove that either they’re ready to take the next step in their development, or that last year was a fluke. If not, there’s still plenty of time to add Poles to the group. The Poles signed both Scofield and Reiff in late July last year to attend most of training camp. The same may happen this year as well.

The Bears complete their first round of OTAs this Friday, then return for more on May 30.

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