Tevin Jenkins Injury Hurt the Bears Badly on Sunday

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“I understand that the Bears were probably not feeling great about their offensive line against Green Bay’s front seven but how could that have been [Luke] Getsy’s game plan? You’re at home against your biggest rival on opening day with Aaron Rodgers not in the building. How could the Bears have played it so safe? They barely targeted DJ Moore. No shots downfield. No RPO. Cole Kmet quiet as usual. A maddening number of horizontal throws with no impact. — Jeff G., Palmetto Bay, Fla.

“The biggest surprise to me, and I alluded to it earlier, was that the Bears didn’t try to lean into what they’ve talked about being one of their real strengths — being physical on offense. They weren’t able to create an advantage running the ball against the Packers. They didn’t appear to have designed runs set up for Justin Fields. Maybe they were hoping that physical edge would play out on some of the lateral throws you’re talking about. Matt Eberflus admitted those needed to be blocked much better.

“They’re not going to effectively attack defenses with play-action passing, where they create defined reads for Fields, without getting the ground game rolling. The Packers have a lot of high draft picks in their front seven, and that’s a talented group that has underperformed in recent seasons. The Bears were not effective — across the board — and we’ll see how they react at Tampa Bay. Game plans will be tailored differently each week and the Bears need something that works this week.”

I’d say that the Bears failure on 3rd and 4th and short early in the game was a very bad sign for the offense in terms of getting the running game going.

The Bears signed Nate Davis specifically to help in the running game. His poor performance was disappointing. What made things worse was the necessity of starting Lucas Patrick at center.

The original plan was to have the injured Tevin Jenkins start at guard with Cody Whitehair at center. That’s a pretty good run blocking combination on the inside. With Patrick at center and with Whitehair at guard, the entire interior of the offensive line was considerably weaker. Add in a good, well prepared Packers front and the running game never got going. And that meant that a good part of what should be the core of the Bears offensive plan in most games never got going.

I might add it this doesn’t say great things about the Bears depth on the interior when living with Patrick at center is your best option in this scenario.

In an earlier question, the Biggs mentioned the possibility that the Bears could be looking for help at defensive end, left tackle and quarterback in the draft next year. It wouldn’t necessarily require a very high pick but if the Bears can’t count on Jenkins to be healthy you might have to add guard to that list.

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