© 2023 BSN LIVE, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Adam Hoge’s “Bears Things” Newsletter is an exclusive perk for CHGO Family Members. Thank you for being part of the team!
LAKE FOREST — From the very beginning, the Bears’ new coaching staff vowed to find the best five players to start on the offensive line. This week, two young players are going to get a big opportunity to claim their spot among the “best” five.
That’s where we begin this week’s Bears Things newsletter:
The Lead: Jenkins, Borom get big opportunity
When the offseason began, most assumed second-year players Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom would factor somewhere into a reshaped offensive line, if healthy. But midway through the offseason program, Jenkins was dropped to the second-team. And just before training camp began, the Bears added veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff to the roster and quickly pushed Borom to the second team.
Jenkins’ camp began with a mysterious absence and trade rumors. But two weeks later, he’s lining up at a new position — one that might actually provide him a path to the starting lineup.
We now know the Bears are dead serious about starting rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle. That certainly factored into Jenkins’ demotion to the second team in the spring. But the move to the right side appeared blocked, in part because Borom is holding his own over there. Meanwhile, the hole at right guard remains noticeable, which is why it seemed time to either move Jenkins or Borom to the inside.
The Bears made that move this week, putting Jenkins at right guard.
“With Lucas (Patrick) getting dinged, it created more opportunities for a bunch of guys that move around a little bit,” Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy told CHGO this week. “And so, just trying to find the best, trying to puzzle this thing out, and Teven’s athleticism gives us the opportunity to see what the flex looks like. You can put him in the inside and it will give us a look. And if it’s not what’s best for him, then we’ll put him back outside.”
Thursday night in Seattle, Jenkins is expected to play a lot at right guard. Interestingly, Getsy stressed that “the guards get stressed mentally more than tackles do in this system” and said that is the “strength” of Jenkins’ game. Other coaches have also pointed to Jenkins’ intelligence as a strength.
Borom, meanwhile, will get another chance to provide the staff with a key evaluation at right tackle. If both players take advantage of the opportunity, they could still be in play to start at those positions come Week 1 against the 49ers. It’s been a wild ride, but if there’s a world in which Borom, Jenkins and Jones legitimately win starting jobs — with Reiff and Michael Schofield established as veteran backups — then the Bears’ offensive line might not be in as much trouble as originally feared.
Of course, that’s the best-case scenario.
Five questions with Luke Getsy
Getsy, the 38-year-old who is fresh off three seasons as Aaron Rodgers’ position coach in Green Bay, has suddenly become one of the most important figures in the Bears’ organization. Justin Fields’ development is now in his hands, and the early returns are encouraging.
This week, Getsy took some time for five questions with CHGO:
1. What has stood out to you about coaching under Matt Eberflus, either over the offseason or even just the other day, finally getting out on the field for a game?
Some of the things that I’ve taken from him immediately is, he set a tone for the culture right away, and what he wants it to look like. He’s really trusted the coaches to put it on the field. He’s laid it out, and I think that’s the crystal clear image of what he wants this thing to look like. It’s been fun because it’s so, so much of what I believe in too.
I try to consider myself somewhat of a composed person, too, on game days. And I was really impressed with how (Eberflus) handled all the different situations and things like that. The communication was great and clear. And it wasn’t disruptive or anything like that. You’ve been around some coaches that their emotions get the best of them and he showed no sign of that. So that was awesome.
2. What did you like about being down on the field with Justin Fields during the game? And you obviously felt comfortable calling plays down there?
That’s kind of how I coach, to be honest with you. I’m not really like a person on the phone type of guy. I don’t really call people and talk to people on the phone. Like, I want to be with you. I want to feel you and look you in the eye and have a great conversation with you. I think there’s no other way to do that than being on the field and having a conversation with him. And the other guys too, the other positions too. I think there’s a lot of value in that.
The cool part is, in ’19 and ’21, with the preseason games, (Packers head coach Matt LaFleur) gave me a chance to (call plays). Four or five times now I got an opportunity to do it. You know, it’s not as much as calling a play, but it’s just handling the communication system that you have. So I felt completely comfortable with that in that setting.
3. I was listening to Aaron Rodgers on that “Pardon My Take” interview and he was talking about the offense in Green Bay and he was being honest about how sometimes he actually gets frustrated with the system, because he’s more of a West Coast offense guy, with timing, and wants to go fast. And sometimes the motions and everything slows things down. But in terms of how that applies here with the Bears, and with Justin Fields, what are the pros and cons of that type of system with a much younger quarterback who doesn’t have the same experience that Rodgers obviously has at this point?
Just reflecting on what you said with Aaron, you have to take into account, what was it? Like 13-14 years under a certain system that was much more spread out and was much more tempoed. So there’s a comfort level that he has in that way of playing the game, as opposed to a young guy who is green and ready to take in anything you say. And so I would just reflect more on what Aaron probably felt back when he was in his second or third year and compare that more than anything as far as (the offense’s) pros and cons. I mean, the cons are that you put a little bit more demand on the quarterback to have to call plays in the huddle and then operate everything at the line of scrimmage. But the pros are you get the people in the position that you want and you create looks that are advantageous for the quarterback to do his job. So you weigh those out and Justin has let us feel that we can pretty much do anything we want with the way he’s able to handle everything.
4. And how did Justin handle all that on the field in the first preseason game?
He handled it great. I mean, really, the operation part was like — maybe it was just me being a little bit nervous, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well all three quarterbacks handled it, including himself. So I was very happy with that.
5. 17 seconds left, down six, ball at the 31-yard-line, maybe a MAC title on the line. What’s the play call?
It was “Double Right 62 Z Post to Read Smash” is what I think is what we called it. So we had two posts. The tight end ran a post, the outside guy ran a post, and then we ran a corner and a hitch on the backside to hold the backside safeties and they played quarter-quarter-half so they had a safety to jump the (route) and I couldn’t believe it and we threw it over the top.
(Editor’s note: This is the play I was referencing …
… asked if he thinks about that play a lot, Getsy said…)
I don’t (think about it a lot). I think the cool part about like all the social media and stuff, it shows up a lot so then it brings back good memories. But no, the playing days for some reason they’ve started to slip away as far as those memories. But if you bring them up, I’ll remember. Yeah.
Fields “listening” to his feet
Every coach has buzz words or phrases that they constantly preach to their players. For the Bears’ new offensive staff, you’ll hear them refer to the “shot clock” when it comes to Fields’ timing in the pocket. On Monday, Getsy said something that caught my attention, when he referenced “listening to your feet.”
“Your shot-clock’s way quicker (at the NFL level),” Getsy said. “You have to listen to your feet a lot more at our level. And when your feet tell you that guy is not open, it’s time to move on and go, you can’t hang on.”
On Tuesday, I followed up with quarterbacks coach Andy Janocko, asking him to explain further:
“Just, what are your feet telling you with where I need to go with the ball? How are my feet aligned? Are my feet taking me to the target? Are my feet getting my shoulder to the target? Then, as the down progresses, as we get later in the shot clock, how many hitches am I on? Depending on the play, every play is different. Every expectation of the play is different. Every action is different, so how are my feet telling me when it’s time to move on, when it’s time to climb the pocket, and then are my feet pitter-pattering and am I too late for the throw? If that is the case, I’ve got to move on and I got to either check the ball down or take off.”
That’s a lot to process, but as Getsy said, “it’s the time clock that we’re training the heck out of.” From Day 1, this coaching staff has stressed improved footwork with Fields and they are starting to see results. Early on in the regular season, this is probably the No. 1 thing to keep an eye on with the young quarterback.
Best/Worst from Week 3 of training camp
The best: Take it with a grain of salt if you want, but the offense seems to have turned a corner. Don’t get me wrong, the unit still has a long way to go, but we haven’t seen a bad day in over a week. That includes two practices last week, two practices this week, and a preseason game. Granted, the first-team offense still didn’t score against the Chiefs, but Fields held his own and the receivers came down with a couple impressive catches. Yes, the bar is low, but there has been some functional improvement in the last week.
The worst: For some reason, ESPN chose Bears-Seahawks as its big nationally televised dress rehearsal for the regular season, but it really put the Bears in a bind with a west coast trip on a short week. As a result, ESPN will be rewarded with only 6-10 Justin Fields snaps. There’s 47 days between “report day” and the first regular season game of the season. How is it possible that two of the three preseason games are scheduled in just a five-day span? The NFL really messed that one up.
Updated Wide Receiver Power Rankings
The cream is rising to the top with the wide receivers:
- Darnell Mooney – There’s really no reason for Mooney to play at all the rest of the preseason.
- Equanimeous St. Brown – EQ still appears to be the Bears’ No. 2 receiver with Byron Pringle out, but it would be nice if he made a couple big plays in Seattle.
- Tajae Sharpe — Sharpe took advantage of his opportunities against the Chiefs, but then missed practice the last two days.
- Velus Jones Jr. — Jones returned to practice this week and could make his debut in Seattle.
- Byron Pringle — Pringle continues to miss time with a quad injury.
- Isaiah Coulter — There appears to be a line developing right here. Coulter and everyone else below might be in trouble.
- Dante Pettis — Still on the bubble, but still in the mix. A strong game in Seattle would help.
- Dazz Newsome — Newsome had an awful start to last week’s game but rebounded nicely and made a highlight play in Monday’s practice.
- Chris Finke — Finke was suddenly out of practice Tuesday.
- Nsimba Webster — Webster occasionally gets reps with the starters, but rarely gets the opportunity to catch the ball.
- Kevin Shaa — Has made a couple plays in the last week, but size is an issue.
- N’Keal Harry — Harry’s preseason has been wiped out with an ankle injury.
- David Moore — Moore’s knee injury hasn’t put him on IR, but it’s unclear if he’ll be back in time to make a difference.
Thank you for jumping on board as a member of the CHGO family. Don’t miss our first Bears pregame show Thursday at 6 p.m. and another postgame show following the game against the Seahawks!
Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!
Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!
Just drop your email below!