Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Matt Eberflus Detailed Why Braxton Jones Is Winning Left Tackle Race


One of the biggest stories of Chicago Bears training camp has to be Braxton Jones ascending to play with the #1 offense at left tackle. This hasn’t been a one-day experiment, mind you. Jones first got the nod back in OTAs. Then after a brief demotion following the arrival of veteran Riley Reiff, he regained the job when Reiff shifted to right tackle. Not only is Jones a rookie, but also a 5th round pick. This development is far from common in the NFL. Head coach Matt Eberflus knows that. Yet he doesn’t seem bothered by it.

He said from the beginning that the goal of his coaching staff was simple. Find the five best blockers on the team and get them on the field together. Teven Jenkins failed to make an impression at right tackle, necessitating Larry Borom to shift to the right side. Then he struggled too, forcing Reiff to take over for him. All the while, Jones has remained steadfast in his grip on the left tackle spot. When asked to explain how this is possible, Eberflus offered details about their thinking.

Matt Eberflus understands the vital key to that position.

Every team knows the left tackle should be the best pass protector on the team. They’re trusted with guarding the blind side of the quarterback. It is why the position is viewed by many as the second-most important in football. Pass protection requires athleticism, quickness, and the ability to anchor. NFL scouts and draft experts agreed that Jones’ biggest strength coming out of college was his pass protection. It was natural for him, and he’d improved considerably leading up to the draft.

It is hard to know what feelings are appropriate here. On the one hand, seeing a rookie elevate to such a prominent role this quickly is encouraging. It offers hope the Bears may have found a potential gem for the future. On the other hand, one can’t help but feel this move is more about necessity than anything else. Matt Eberflus and the coaches consider him the best of mostly bad options.

Fans won’t have answers either way until they see Jones in action. Starters will play in the preseason. If he lines up with that first unit for the entire month and doesn’t look like a liability, the Bears may have something.


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Thomas J Cameron
Thomas J Cameron
Aug 4, 2022 10:47 am

Jones is the perfect example of Poles’ philosophy, and his hope for this year. If (BIG IF) Jones is the real deal; Poles has scored a cheap nugget for the future. And, he did it via the draft as his plans are explained. Now, if Poles can score 1 or 2 more to carry forward into next year his plan will be seen as awesome. I know it is still 2022; but next year could be the draft that turn this team back into a dynasty. Add to the draft the Cap space for the final FA pieces, and we… Read more »

Aug 4, 2022 9:15 am

Who cares about in what round he was drafted? There are countless numbers of O-line guys in the HOF who were low round picks — and several UDFA’s!

IF he winds up playing, it will be due to his performance, and NOT because of where he’s drafted, or because the other guys are bad players.

This year’s Draft is looking better every day. 🤞

Gator Joe
Gator Joe
Aug 4, 2022 7:13 am

I’m really ready to see a lot of these guys play in a game. I’ll probably watch it twice to study different positions. Even if Jones makes some mistakes they can watch the film and work on his rough edges. Maybe after three games we’ll have ourselves a starting LT. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Aug 4, 2022 6:27 am

The real question is what happens if and when the Tevin Jenkins situation is resolved and he returns to the lineup? Do they put Tevin at Guard, RT or does he supplant Jones at LT??? Then what happens with RR and LB ????

Aug 3, 2022 7:44 pm

Just the best 5. May the best prevail.
On Teven the press should all be advising Poles to resolve whatever issues are bw Teven, and anyone in the organization. Too much has already been invested in this young kid. Fix it Ryan! That’s why you make the big bucks. Fix it. A true leader leads when things are rough going. Not dump your talents on other teams. Everybody needs to chill, understand the team is a family unit, and eschew all potential biases, or ill feelings. Everybody must check their egos at the door. Thank you.

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