The Chicago Bears continued to try out Teven Jenkins at right guard Tuesday during the team’s final practice before their preseason game Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks.
One day later get representatives of the second team in the positionJenkins took first-team reps there as the Bears try to find the right mix for their line.
Before and after practice, coach Matt Eberflus, offensive line coach Chris Morgan and left guard Cody Whitehair discussed Jenkins’ move from offensive tackle and various other topics. Here are four things we heard.
The Bears have emphasized the need to have their top five offensive linemen on the field while playing with different line options.
Rookie Braxton Jones is getting a spread look at left tackle, and Riley Reiff and Larry Borom have split reps at right tackle, and they can play either side. So Jenkins’ best bet for a roster spot might be showing off his versatility to play guard and tackle.
The Bears also have other options. Veteran Michael Schofield started at right guard in the preseason opener, and Sam Mustipher can also play there, though he has been at center for Lucas Patrick is injured. But Morgan said coaches are excited to see what Jenkins can show them, and it will be worth watching to see how they use him against the Seahawks.
“He’s got a great size,” Morgan said. “He has good strength. He is a smart soccer player. Those are all the things you want inside, that translate inside. Things move fast inside.”
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Monday that guards have a higher mental load on their system and he thinks Jenkins, a 2021 second-round pick out of Oklahoma State, can handle it. Whitehair offers advice whenever he can as Jenkins immerses himself in the new role.
“There’s just so much more to getting to the second level, making sure you’re on the same page with protection calls and things like that,” Whitehair said of the challenges in Getsy’s system. “In the other systems I was in, you didn’t have to use your eyes on guard as much. But there’s a lot of responsibility that your eyes have to be right as far as getting to the second level and seeing different attacks.”
Eberflus called Jenkins a smart and athletic player, adding that he told his staff not to put a limit on a player. It’s a mantra Eberflus learned from one of his mentors, and applied it to Jenkins trying to learn a new position after missing significant time at tackle last season with a back injury and some practice this training camp with an undisclosed injury.
“Let it grow. Let him do his thing because some people mature and grow up at different times and all of a sudden they become a very good NFL player,” Eberflus said. “And that’s for any position. We will never put limits on the boys. We will always think the best for each player”.
Jones has only been with the Bears for more than three months, but the fifth-round pick from southern Utah clearly won over some people in his quest to be the starting left tackle, a job that could have gone to Reiff, Borom or Jenkins. .
“Our department did a very good job of finding him,” Whitehair said. “They knew what they were looking for. I think they found a good one in him.
“The way he studies, the way he understands things. He is very athletic, has great length, uses his hands well. I really like where Braxton is right now. He is just going to continue to grow and I am very excited to see that growth.”
Morgan said Jones is prepared to get better every day, so he wasn’t surprised how quickly the rookie caught on.
“He really has a clear vision of his process,” Morgan said. “He has a clear vision of how he wants to attack it. He has a clear vision of how to measure himself day by day”.
Eberflus did not specify what Kramer’s injury was after the lineman missed practice on Monday and Tuesday, but said Kramer would be out for an extended period. The team placed Kramer on injured reserve on Tuesday. the one of the tribune Brad Biggs reported that the team feared it could be a Lisfranc injury to Kramer’s foot, which would put Kramer’s season in jeopardy.
Kramer, a 2022 sixth-round pick out of Illinois, played 73% of the Bears’ offensive snaps in the preseason opener. He had been backing up Mustipher in the center.
As the Bears look to get faster and lighter on the offensive line, Borom said his target weight of 320 is about 15 pounds less than last season.
Morgan praised the way Borom rebuilt his body and pointed to his balanced mindset as an attribute that helped him as he worked on both tackle points.
“Larry did a great job in the offseason putting himself in position to go out there and compete,” Morgan said. “You just appreciate the way he thinks. He is going to try to improve every day. He has a great day, it doesn’t matter. He had a bad day, it doesn’t matter. I congratulate you on that. That’s a mental toughness attribute for me, and he’s doing a really good job jumping from right to left.”