Bears News: Jenkins prioritizing his health going into next season

Bears News: Jenkins prioritizing his health going into next season

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO — In 2021, offensive lineman Teven Jenkins and quarterback Justin Fields were fellow rookies with the Chicago Bears.

Now, Fields is with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jenkins will block for a quarterback in Caleb Williams.

“That’s football. New face, new guy. He’s coming in from college. It’s going to be a little different for him. I have all the confidence he’s going to get it down very quick,” Jenkins said. “He’s a quick learner. There’s always that patience in anybody. New offense, new playbook, new city. There’s a lot of things going on right now.”

One thing organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp brought to light is the importance of the quarterback’s cadence. Back in college, Williams used the clap cadence. Now, with Chicago, Williams has to adjust to the verbal cadence.

Not only does Williams have to adjust to this, but offensive linemen like Jenkins must also adjust, especially for someone who has primarily only heard the cadence of one quarterback in Fields.

“That’s what engages us to get off that ball, and that’s what’s emphasized in this offense. We communicate to him what we need from him and he has a lot of other things going on. He’s running the whole offense,” Jenkins said. “But, one thing that we always try to tell him is voice louder, emphasize, even if we’re going on to emphasize that second hut to make the defense draw offsides, get a free play, and those plays that we got last year, that we got that free touchdown to DJ (Moore). That was on a free play, the emphasis on that hut. The defense makes it real, thinks it’s real, so they get off and just communicating to him those voice inflections are very important and everything.”

Jenkins says Williams is a player who immediately impacted him in terms of personality.

While the Heisman quarterback had some negative publicity during his college playing time, Jenkins said he is a great person.

“Great competitor, a guy who’s willing to absorb all knowledge, no matter what facet he’s doing in life, and just (a) great overall dude. I met him at dinner. He met my daughter. He was nice. He met my wife, everybody. He’s just shaking hands, and it was really nice of him,” Jenkins said. “We were having dinner off to the side, and he came over there. He came over and said hi to us because we’re like, ‘We don’t want to bother Caleb. He’s here having his own dinner.’ He came over, said hi to my wife, made me introduce my wife and everything, and I thought that was really cool of him. So, I feel like he’s a great dude.”

However, Jenkins may not be around long to block for Williams if he cannot stay healthy.

Throughout his first three seasons in the NFL, he has only played 31 games, missing at least four games every season. When he is on the field, Jenkins is one of the better guards in the league. But if he cannot stay healthy this season, Chicago will not have a reason to give him a new contract.

That is why his health is his top priority going into this season.

“Stay healthy. That’s number one. That’s (of the) utmost importance for me right now,” Jenkins said. “Stay healthy, get through the whole 17 games and, continue my strong play from last year, and be a more consistent, reliable guy.”

While he has played well as a guard, there is also room for Jenkins to grow.

Going against the Bears’ elite defense will allow him to develop his blocking skills further and prepare him for the upcoming season.

“It’s a top-five defense in the NFL. They’re hard,” Jenkins said. “The whole defense is amazing. That’s what they do. They go get after the quarterback. It’s really good for us because (we’re) trying to improve our play, and we’re going against that type of defense, top-five defense, it’s going to also elevate us.”

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