The Chicago Bears caused a controversy (for summer) when word emerged that Teven Jenkins had been demoted from the first-team offense to the second-team. Larry Borom took over the starting spot at right tackle while rookie Braxton Jones filled the left tackle spot. Head coach Matt Eberflus insisted on not reading much into the decision. Coaches will continue to shuffle the lineup looking for the best combination. Still, why didn’t Borom get demoted if that were true? Or Cody Whitehair? This felt like a red flag.
It could mean offensive line coach Chris Morgan and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy haven’t liked what they’ve seen from the former 2nd round pick thus far. Yes, it’s early, but even in shorts, it is possible to see what sort of skills a player offers. They may have reservations about Jenkins being on the edge. Does that mean he’s a bust? Not necessarily. Not if these coaches operate with common sense.
Let’s go back to before the 2021 draft.
Though Jenkins was among the better tackles in the class, some including Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had reservations about his future there. He felt the Oklahoma State standout might end up fitting far better at guard. This assessment came from concern about Jenkins’ shorter arms and his average range when pass-blocking. That is why his player comparison ended up being Joe Thuney, who has become a top guard in the league.
“Jenkins has good tackle tape, but his short arms and average range in pass sets could be something to keep an eye on. Whether it is at tackle or guard, Jenkins has the talent to become an early starter and a successful pro.”
This move would make sense for multiple reasons. For one, the Bears still have a glaring hole at right guard going into training camp. Their two primary options appear to be Sam Mustipher and Dakota Dozier. If Teven Jenkins can’t beat out those two for the job, he doesn’t belong in the NFL. Then there is the fit. Jenkins is known best for his immense power and nasty demeanor. He loved to bulldoze defenders. That kind of style is perfect for a guard that may have athletic or length limitations.
This may yet prove to be a false alarm. Jenkins could end up the starting right tackle as expected. Still, if the next two months short Jones and Borom as a more favorable combination, don’t be shocked to see him kick inside.