Training Camp Diary: Teven Jenkins Has Back Surgery; What if Dalton Stinks on Saturday?

| August 19th, 2021

Teven Jenkins Has Back Surgery.

  • It is now unlikely the second-round selection will see the field this season. Back injuries are bad news for offensive linemen, and pretty much everyone else on the planet.
  • Trading up for a player with known injury concerns, even despite the potential/ability, is a suspect decision. Often times draftniks will argue that players “fall” in the draft but the truth is many organizations don’t touch guys with lingering injury concerns. Ryan Pace has to own this failure, including the decision to release Charles Leno, leaving the club extremely vulnerable on the edge.
  • Once again, I question why Matt Nagy says the things he says publicly. Why say the Jason Peters signing has nothing to do with Jenkins’ health FOUR DAYS before the latter has surgery? Does that give the club a competitive advantage? No. All it does it devalue any other public statements you make. After a while, everyone is going to just tune the coach out. (I’m pretty damn close.)
  • There will certainly be some urgency inside the Bears when it comes to Jenkins’ recovery but their entire focus should be readying him for the 2022 season. If this is a redshirt season, so be it. He’ll still be an immensely talented tackle next off-season.

What Do the Bears Do if Andy Dalton Stinks on Saturday?

Justin Fields is the future at the quarterback position.

Justin Fields has shown command of the offense and composure at every stage of the off-season program.

The only thing seemingly keeping the Bears from giving Fields the first-team reps in practice and naming him the starter is the presence, and behavior, of Andy Dalton. (If the Bears only had Nick Foles on the roster, you think he’d be getting starter’s reps?) Dalton was signed with the “promise” of the starting gig and has been a model soldier during his short tenure with the organization. Dalton doesn’t have the resume to keep Fields at bay. He hasn’t lit up training camp. He’s been fine. He’s been…Andy Dalton. And that seems to be enough.

But what if he goes out Saturday and does nothing? What if he’s in the game for 3-4 drives, the team gets only 1-2 first downs, he throws a pick, and they don’t score? What if all that happens (or, in this case, doesn’t happen) and Fields follows him with another stellar performance?

The question posed to Nagy postgame will be a simple one. Why is Andy Dalton still the starting quarterback? Nagy won’t have an answer. He’ll stammer (read: lie) about what he’s seeing in practice each day. But if Dalton delivers a clunker against the Buffalo Bills, the volume of the chorus calling for Fields will reach eleven on the amp, yours truly already numbering among them. If Dalton is bad Saturday and Fields good, and the latter is not elevated in the days that follow, Nagy will begin to receive serious criticism regarding his handling of this quarterback position.

And that criticism will be warranted.

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