Breaking Down New Bears’ OL Dan Feeney

| August 29th, 2023

The more preseason football I watch, the less I’m convinced much of it matters. All you really need to know from Saturday’s game (which we may talk about tomorrow) is that the Defensive Line had their hands full so long as the Bills’ starters remained in the game — in particular, the Bears’ rookie DTs got a healthy dose of reality against the kind of talent they’ll be facing in just 12 days time.

But today is a special day for us Bears fans — it’s 53-man cut-down day, and Chicago is first on the waiver wire! With that in mind, we’ll track moves all day and update this article as-needed. But, as we wait, we’ve got a brand new Bear to break down in former New York Jet Dan Feeney, who signed with Miami this offseason and was just traded to Chicago for a 2024 6th round pick.

I’m not one to grouse over draft capital, but for an organization looking to build through the draft I’m surprised they paid more than a 7th round pick– the various injuries of Tevin Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, and Nate Davis must have the Bears brass thinking about extra depth, and Feeney is nothing if not versatile depth.

Feeney has played full games at Left Guard, Right Guard, and Center in the last 2 years alone, and he did so within a Mike LaFleur Jets offense that shares many of the Bears’ run concepts and general offensive themes.

When watching his tape I see solid feet, veteran hand placement, and a weak upper-half — he’s good at getting himself to his spot both on zone runs and when pulling in the power run game, but he’s not powerful with his hands and gets out-muscled if his OC doesn’t scheme him leverage. He’s better at ‘getting in the way’ than he is ‘moving his man’, but on combo blocks that’s all he needs to be when taking on Linebackers.

In pass protection his feet and hand placement show off the experience he’s gained from his 6 years of professional football, and he looks particularly sound on the snaps where he has to recognize & catch a stunting defender. His troubles arise when faced with powerful DTs that can frustrate his anchor and force him to lunge, which creates whiffs like the one you see at the 1:00 mark of the reel below.

Take a look at the reel below and get to know your latest Bear:

Overall, Feeney seems like the athletic archetype of lineman that Ryan Poles likes and provides the Offensive Line room with another veteran that can reliably block the stunting defenders that, at times, annihilated entire Bears’ offensive game plans. With experience at LG, C, RG, and apparently Fullback too, he’s the kind of add that aims to improve the team’s floor in case of an Offensive Line catastrophe — with the state of Tevin Jenkins & the rest of the Bears’ OL room, I don’t mind a move.

Where I’m curious, though, is why Poles felt the need to trade a pick for Feeney now that we’re less than 24 hours from the roster cut-down deadline — did they specifically identify Feeney as a better fit than other likely cut candidates? Are they legitimately worried that Lucas Patrick , Doug Kramer, & Cody Whitehair’s injuries may leave them without a starting (or reserve) Center they like? Or, given the Bears’ current injuries, were they simply unwilling to risk an upgrade not falling into their lap?

We don’t know and we won’t know, but with Chicago first on the waiver wire I’m excited to see what other surprises today brings.

Don’t forget to check back throughout the day!

Your Turn: What’s your take on the Feeney trade?

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