General manager Ryan Poles did right this offseason by providing Justin Fields with a No. 1 receiver in DJ Moore.
Of course, Poles can keep adding skilled players for Fields in an important Year 3 for the quarterback, but the offensive line also needed major upgrades.
So far through free agency, Poles has added former Tennessee Titans right guard Nate Davis to help solidify the line.
Let’s take a look at what the guard brings to the Chicago Bears.
Film Break Down
Davis’ movement skills and ability to get to the second level stand out when watching his tape. At 6-foot-3, 316 pounds, he shows good balance and knows how to take proper angles to impede a defender from getting to the ball carrier.
Here are two back-to-back plays in the Titans Week 8 matchup with the Texans that showcase Davis maneuvering through the first level of the defense to make a block on a linebacker. Keep an eye on No. 64 on the Titans.
Offensive lineman can get in trouble if they stop moving their feet when engaged with a block. This is often at fault when you see an O-lineman get disengaged with a block and put on the ground.
Davis does a really good job with consistently moving his feet to create either lateral displacement or to drive defenders back to create rushing lanes. Against one of the top defenses in the NFL last season, the Philadelphia Eagles, Davis was lined up for a good portion of his reps against Fletcher Cox.
Look at this rep for example. Davis gets a little help from his center, but then the former Titans right guard drives back the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive lineman. Davis keeps his feet moving while having his arms extended and connected to Cox’s shoulder pads.
Also in this Week 13 matchup with the Eagles, Davis handled the stunts that the Eagles brought really well. Credit has to be given to Davis and his film study going into this game, but also having clear communication with his fellow lineman to know when to pass defenders off.
While watching Davis’ film, I did come across some areas of his game that he can get better at. As expected, Davis wasn’t going to win every single rep against Cox in that game against the Eagles. Cox was able to take advantage of Davis when he didn’t have precise hand placement and also by using power.
(In the two plays below, the quarterback was still able to get the ball out, so credit to Davis’ ability to recover, but he does give up ground on each rep.)
Davis’ movement skills and the advantageous angles he takes should mesh with the outside zone scheme the Bears run. These traits will allow the running backs to find the proper cutback lanes to potentially help create more explosive runs.
He also has familiarity with new Bears running back D’Onta Foreman and assistant offensive line coach Luke Steckel, who both were in Tennessee with Davis.
Davis has played exclusively at right guard since he was drafted in 2019 out of Charlotte. Does he automatically get that spot over Teven Jenkins who showed some positive signs at the position last season?
Potentially, especially if you follow the money. Davis signed a three-year contract worth $30 million, with $19.25 million guaranteed.
So, as of now, it may be Jenkins moving to left guard, which then would move Cody Whitehair back to center while Davis plays on the right side. Lots of movement upfront for a season that absolutely must have better line play.
Poles may have added one offensive lineman for the offense, but he needs to continue adding players to create a core five that can help Fields be the best version of himself in 2023.