Early in the 2017 regular season, Chicago Bears center Cody Whitehair had his fair share of poor snaps coming out of the shotgun. While the Kansas State alumnus was able to enter a groove later on in the year, it seems as though those issues have returned. So much so, in fact, that the Bears have decided to start giving another one of their offensive linemen a chance to take some snaps at center.
Second-round rookie James Daniels, who played center during the two seasons in which he started at Iowa, has been getting reps solely at center with Chicago’s second-team offense, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on an episode of Bears Beat Live on Periscope with Patrick Finley.
Daniels has been taking snaps primarily at left guard throughout training camp and the preseason, so the fact that he is now taking snaps at the center position alone may serve as a precursor for a potential positional switch.
Jahns had this to say about Daniels’ switch on the livestream:
“[Daniels] is done rotating between left guard and center. He’s specifically practicing at center right now. At one point, you could say it was because Hroniss Grasu was hurt. Hroniss Grasu is not hurt anymore, so you have Daniels focusing squarely on center.”
Finley added this when asked by Jahns about whether or not the rookie would be the Bears’ starting center come Week 1:
“Cody’s snaps have been inconsistent at best - tough day today (in joint practice with the Denver Broncos), [he had] a couple of high snaps, a couple of low snaps, which are just as bad because it gets the quarterback off on his timing.
Finley stated that he would give Whitehair a chance to stay at center - partially due to the center’s close relationship with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky - but the fact that the Bears are playing Daniels solely at center says a lot about what their thoughts are on a potential switch.
Whitehair played in all 16 games in the 2017 season, with 12 of them coming at the center position. He stepped in at both guard positions with two starts apiece due to injuries suffered by teammates.
The Bears play the Denver Broncos on the road this Saturday at 8:05 p.m. CT. One can assume that Daniels will end up seeing some playing time at center at some point in the night.
Jacob Infante is a Chicago Bears writer at SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. He is also an NFL Draft writer at USA Today SMG’s Draft Wire. He can be reached through Twitter @jacobinfante24 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.