Bears offensive line going through overhaul

Bears offensive line going through overhaul

by - Senior Writer -

The Bears are coming off their third win last Thursday and have now had some extended time off to reflect on that victory. During that time, it was revealed that Justin Fields was healthy enough to play again and had been named the starter instead of Tyson Bagent on Sunday. Fields is the more talented QB, but when Bagent has posted a 2-2 record instead of the 1-5 mark from Fields, you may wonder if making the move at QB is the best option.

However, adding Fields back under center isn't the only change that the Bears will make for week 11, as there will be one significant change on the offensive line. That change will be Cody Whitehair not being the starting center in week 11, as Matt Eberflus has decided to make a change and remove him from the starting offensive unit.

Whitehair has been one of the stables on the Bears offensive line for the past five years, and for the most part, he has been very consistent. This season, however, has been his worst season with the Bears, as he hasn't been living up to the billing. With Lucas Patrick returning healthy, Patrick has taken over the center position, which moved Whitehair to other spots on the line. Whitehair came into the league as a right guard and will now lose his starting right guard spot.

While production is part of the reason Whitehair will no longer be in the starting lineup, having Nate Davis come back healthy is another huge reason. Davis was one of the Bears bigger free agent signings this past offseason and after he got hurt earlier in the season the Bears offensive line went through some struggles. With him returning healthy, fans can see just how good this offensive line can be, especially with Patrick remaining at center.

With Davis coming back into the mix and taking over the RG spot, it moves Teven Jenkins from RG, where he was filling in, back over to LG, where he began the season. That is another reason Whitehair is the odd man out, as the Bears suddenly have a good problem on the offensive line. Sure, the addition of Davis back up front and moving Jenkins back to his normal position is huge, but the most significant addition to the offensive line is having Braxton Jones return to the left tackle spot to protect Fields blindside.

Jones has been on IR for the past several weeks, and with him getting more reps in practice the past few weeks, it is time for Eberflus to make the call and bring him back into the starting mix. You also still have Darnell Wright at the RT position, as this will be the healthiest the Bears line has been all season and perhaps the best position it has been in for quite some time.

Clearly, having Davis and Jones returning to the lineup would push someone out, but some felt it would be Patrick instead of Whitehair. However, when you look at Whitehair and his overall play this season, you can see why this decision was made, as it was the easiest one for Eberflus to make. The 31-year-old offensive lineman hasn’t been the same player he was when he was at the peak of his powers earlier in his career.

Whitehair’s 44.7 overall grade ranks 79th among 82 offensive guards who played enough snaps to qualify for inclusion on the leaderboard. He also had his share of snapping problems since 2021, which was the main reason why Whitehair was moved from Center to Guard in the first place. While Patrick’s 48.9 grade checks in at 34th among 38 centers at PFF, this Bears brass is rolling with him, considering the Center position is his natural position.

This might be one of the few decisions that Eberflus has made that makes sense. Now, if other changes need to be made in the starting lineup, will they have the guts to make those moves even if they are hard decisions?

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