The Chicago Bears had offensive line concerns days before training camp started. So GM Ryan Poles decided to do something about it. In the space of 24 hours, he added two quality veterans to the mix in Michael Schofield and Riley Reiff. Schofield spent last season as a starting guard for the Los Angeles Chargers, while Reiff did the same at right tackle for Cincinnati. Both should be immediate favorites to find jobs along the starting offensive line. Many wonder what this development means for the younger blockers on the depth chart, notably Teven Jenkins.
Remember, this guy was a 2nd round pick last season. Not only that, but Ryan Pace traded up to get him. They clearly felt he was their future at one of the tackle positions. Now one year later, he suddenly doesn’t have an open path to either job. Reiff likely securing the left tackle spot puts him in competition with Larry Borom and rookie Braxton Jones for the right side. However, it seems the coaching staff may not envision him there either. Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog confirmed a rumor that has been growing for over a month.
“The signings of Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield are interesting, but I’m still interested in how the Bears intend to deploy Teven Jenkins. Several folks inside the building believe Reiff will start at left tackle and Jenkins’ best path to playing time is at right guard. (They’re paying Reiff to start. They’re paying Schofield zero guaranteed dollars.) This could set the stage for a camp battle between Braxton Jones and Larry Borom at right tackle. But the Bears sincerely like Jones.”
Teven Jenkins shifting to guard felt inevitable.
The first signs came when the team demoted him to the #2 offense in practices while Borom took over at right tackle and Jones on the left side. While head coach Matt Eberflus insisted not to read too much into that, people had enough common sense to realize something was going on. It was evident offensive line coach Chris Morgan and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy didn’t like what they saw from Jenkins.
This goes back to the NFL draft in 2021. Some experts had reservations about Teven Jenkins as a tackle, citing his average arm length and foot quickness as two things that could be major issues against pro pass rushers. It didn’t help when he had hiccups against undrafted rookies in spring practices. Shifting him inside to guard would help mitigate those two concerns, allowing him to rely on his power and nastiness for maximum impact.
Experimentation will likely continue for the Bears through the first two weeks of camp. Coaches will want to see where linemen fit best. It won’t be a surprise if Jenkins is battling Schofield for that open right guard spot when the preseason opens next month.
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