We asked our team at Windy City Gridiron to answer several questions for a preseason roundtable about the Chicago Bears’ 2022 position groups. Are the positions in question better, worse, or a push from the players they had for the 2021 season?
We took the answers one position at a time, and we’ve been rolling them out all week. After checking out what we had to say here about Chicago’s offensive line, let us know your thoughts about them in the comment section.
Sam Householder: The room lacks a lot of starting experience, especially in the current starting lineup. However, I think the mix of veteran experience on the depth side and young talent makes a better overall position group than a year ago.
ECD: Overall, this is a much younger and more athletic group than what we saw last season. Also, four homegrown players are poised to start across the trenches. Teven Jenkins has impressed at RG, and Larry Borom looks to be a pleasant surprise at RT. Braxton Jones locked his job at LT early as a 5th rounder who’s looking like a steal. Center will see an upgrade once Lucas Patrick is cleared to play. Capable veterans at Guard and Tackle await in the wings in case the youngsters struggle too often.
Josh Sunderbruch: Better. It would just about have to be.
Jack Salo: Hard to get worse than last year, although the Bears still didn’t do much to put out the fire. The o-line should look better when they roll Justin Fields out more often and run the ball more. Get the big men pushing instead of getting pushed. Some of the best offensive lines are the ones you don’t hear about. No news is good news, right?
Peter Borkowski: While what we’ve seen so far in the preseason is not instilling much hope, it would be hard to be worse than last year’s group. The addition of three starting caliber linemen (Riley Reiff, Michael Schofield, Lucas Patrick) will be huge for a line that was a carousel of depth pieces who started last year. Assuming Cody Whitehair can bounce back and at least one of Teven Jenkins (if he’s still on the team), Larry Borom, or Braxton Jones can break out, that’s not a terrible line; maybe it’s even somewhat average. Both of those would be massive improvements from last year.
Lester Wiltfong: From a talent standpoint, right now, it’s worse. But once the young players settle in, and once Lucas Patrick returns from his thumb injury, I see this unit being improved over the o-line from a season ago. Jenkins has shown a lot of promise the last two weeks, but I want to see him out there week one and completely bought in to his new position. The scheme will be able to hide some growing pains the young tackles have, but that’s the scheme, not the “position group.”
Aaron Leming: Until proven otherwise, I can’t give this unit a better outlook. Yes, they added veterans like Lucas Patrick and Riley Reiff. They are also giving the young guys (Braxton Jones, Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins) every opportunity in the world to break preseason on the starting offensive line. While I do like their upside better, changes don’t always equate to improvements. This unit might be the biggest outside key to the development (and overall success) of Justin Fields in 2022.
We put the o-line question on Twitter, and here’s how that poll went.