The Chicago Bears always talk about how their quarterback position is the primary issue with them not being able to win. This is fair. However, it also glosses over the fact that one position can’t be wholly responsible for an offense being so consistently inept. Not enough people talk about how bad they’ve been at constructing decent offensive lines over the years. Outside of 2013 and 2018, the front five has remained a constant source of frustration for Chicago in the past decade.
Things aren’t off to a great start in 2021 either. Training camp has barely begun and already the team has watched three of their five projected starters go down with injuries. Rookie left tackle Teven Jenkins is out with back tightness, right tackle Germain Ifedi is dealing with a hip flexor, and now right guard James Daniels is down with a thigh problem. Fans have already gone into full-blown crisis mode.
Hard to blame them knowing this team’s history.
That said, the Chinese word for “crisis” has two characters. One means danger. The other? Opportunity. Amidst the losses suffered by the Bears, this is a perfect situation for somebody to step up and get noticed by the coaching staff. A chance to seize the moment. Rumbling out of Halas Hall suggests one player is doing just that. A rookie no less. Fifth round tackle Larry Borom.
With Jenkins and Ifedi out, the Bears then lost primary backup Elijah Wilkinson to the COVID-19 list. This put the coaches in a conundrum. Their initial plan was to have Borom focus on right tackle, the position he’d played almost exclusively at Missouri. As injuries mount, head coach Matt Nagy decided to make an interesting adjustment. Borom would start working at left tackle. From the sound of things, it didn’t end in utter catastrophe according to Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago.
“Borom did get plenty of reps with the starting unit on Tuesday, and was thrown into the fire by going 1-on-1 with Khalil Mack at times. He had some miscues, like a false start, but for the most part he held his own. That’s encouraging, but Borom is likely not the Bears’ No. 1 choice at the position.”
People must understand the context here.
Borom played one game in college at left tackle. One. The Bears asked him to shift there on short notice this week and immediately put him up against their best pass rushers. For him not to have completely folded his tent is a minor miracle. It also speaks to what the Bears have said for months. The guy might actually be better than his draft slot indicated.
Chicago Bears must continue to offer Borom opportunities
Ryan Pace stated back in May that the Bears had eyes on him for quite some time. In fact, their evaluations had him rated on the second day of the draft. So at least the 3rd round range. For them to get him in the 5th was considered a major victory. For his part, Borom doesn’t act like somebody drafted that late. He has a high opinion of his own abilities. In fact, he stated outright he can pass protect with the best out there.
By the sound of things, that was no idle boast. Going toe to toe with guys like Mack and Robert Quinn is no small feat. The Chicago Bears would be wise to continue challenging Borom in the coming weeks. He’s met every one so far. If he refuses to crack under the pressure, they may have to start thinking about making him part of their plans sooner.