In 2022 Justin Fields was consistently under pressure due to poor offensive line play. To fix the issues, the Bears made improvements to the offensive line during the 2023 offseason. The improvements included drafting Darnell Wright, signing Nate Davis and shifting other linemen around. The Bears expect these changes to the offensive line to fix the issues this season. However, throughout the first several practices, many problems have arisen.
After being moved around the offensive line for the past two seasons, Whitehair returns to being the team’s starting center. The move back to center has brought up multiple issues for Whitehair. One of these issues is bad snaps.
These botched snaps are not a new issue for Whitehair. In Whitehair’s previous stints as center, he has ruined countless drives with errant snaps. He needs to use the rest of training camp to get in synch with Fields, so this does not happen in the regular season.
Whitehair has also got blown back after snapping a few times during camp. While most of that happened during nonpadded practices, it is still worrying. If Fields has to face pressure like that during the season, it will cause problems.
Davis has missed five days of camp due to an undisclosed injury . Four of the days have been padded practices while one has been unpadded. Missing time during camp hurts Davis’s ability to get a feel for how the offense works. While he may have played a mobile quarterback before Fields, mobility is different.
The valuable time Davis is missing will hurt his ability to help move the pocket when Fields scrambles during games. Hopefully, Davis can recover and be back out on the practice field soon.
Jenkins’s most notable occurrence at camp is also an injury via Adam Hoge of CHGO. Jenkins’s undisclosed injury caused him to miss two days of camp. While missing time is not ideal, seeing Jenkins return to the practice field quickly is good. The Bears certainly need their most improved offensive lineman practicing with them.
Up to this point, Wright has had an interesting camp. He began camp crushing the offensive line conditioning test. That was thanks to Wright doing the wide receiver conditioning instead of the o-line conditioning. His training helped him lose 16 pounds of fat which he says helps him feel more muscular. Doing the wrong conditioning will also help Wright get to second level blocks faster.
On the field, Wright has had trouble slowing down the pass rush. Getting beat by veteran Terell Lewis in padded and unpadded practice. Even though not much stock is put into linemen losing pass rush battles in unpadded practice, the fact Wright also lost in pads is something to watch. It is important to recognize that Wright is a rookie and has much to learn, but there is an expectation that a player drafted in the top 10 will perform well.
Entering his second NFL season, Jones needs areas of his game to improve. Thankfully he has shown some improvements in camp. An area of Jones’s game he has improved is his anchoring. Anchoring is part of what helps linemen slow down pass rushers. The other part of slowing down pash rushers is being able to use your hands.
Using hands to slow down rushers is something Jones has struggled with during camp. However, he is putting in the work to improve this problem. If Jones can use his hands better going into the season it will help him protect Fields.
If the Bears’ offensive line can iron out the issues they have had early on in training camp, they will have a mich improved line this season.
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