Cody Whitehair has been around the Chicago Bears longer than any player on the roster. He arrived in 2016 and has been through some remarkable ebbs and flows. He was part of the John Fox-Ryan Pace rebuild, made a Pro Bowl in 2018, watched Super Bowl aspirations fall apart from 2019 to 2021, and is now part of a second rebuild under GM Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus. One would understand if the veteran offensive lineman is skeptical of what this new regime is trying to sell.
However, one thing he can’t argue with is what his own senses tell him. Whitehair has been part of some rough locker rooms from the uncertain days of Fox to the disappointing final stretch of Matt Nagy. Poles and Eberflus vowed to change the culture. The Bears’ center has gotten his first taste of the reconfigured roster in early OTAs. Several players have already said the vibe is different this year. You can sense the confidence in this locker room. Whitehair, usually not one to make such proclamations, agrees.
Cody Whitehair can see what this regime is trying to build.
That is a young, athletic, and hard-working roster. Even the group of veterans they’ve added come with one commonality. They’re hungry to win. Tremaine Edmunds made the playoffs several times in Buffalo but never won a ring—the same with Nate Davis in Tennessee. T.J. Edwards just lost the Super Bowl last season with Philadelphia. Such guys bring a level of expectation to this young team. They want to win badly. When such aura comes from the team’s veteran leaders, it bleeds into everybody else.
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There is no doubt Cody Whitehair is suddenly leading an intriguing new offensive line. He shifts back to center where he will sit between Davis and Teven Jenkins. Darnell Wright takes over at right tackle. This front is big, nasty, and mobile. They have a far better chance to protect Justin Fields than last season. If they succeed, the chances of winning more games go up exponentially. There is no doubt Whitehair is operating with urgency. His window to get a ring won’t stay open for much longer.