Yesterday, we explored the tackles, where Braxton Jones looks like a solid starter. Today, we will look at the guards.
The Bears had four guards play meaningful snaps last year, and the table below shows how they held up in pass protection compared to the 77 guards around the NFL who had at least 200 pass blocking snaps (Lucas Patrick did not have enough snaps to qualify, so his ranks are where he would have fit if he did). All data is from Pro Football Focus (PFF), and true pass sets are intended to remove plays designed to minimize the pass rush, such as screens, play action, and rollout. Cells highlighted in green indicate they ranked in the top 25%, while red indicates the bottom 25%.
A few thoughts:
- Like we saw with the tackles, the Bears minimized the amount of true pass sets in order to protect an offensive line that they didn’t trust to hold up in protection. And like we saw with tackles, they generally had good reason not to trust the line, as there’s a whole lot of red and not a lot of green in this chart.
- Looking at individual players, the top three aren’t too bad. Nobody really stands out as being all that good, but they’re mostly around average to maybe a bit below average.
- Lucas Patrick, on the other hand, was horrible. I know he struggled through injuries last year, but he was legitimately one of the worst guards in the NFL.
Teven Jenkins got a lot of hype from Bears fans last year, but he seemed to struggle a bit as a pass protector, especially in true pass sets. Of course, it was his first season as a starter, so it’s possible that he improved as the season went on, like we saw from Braxton Jones yesterday. The table below looks at his performance when splitting the season into four-game intervals. Jenkins got hurt during the season in 2022, so he only played five games from Week 9 on, and those are all put into one sample.
Here you can see that some improvement was made as a pass protector, at least based on PFF’s grades. This is especially evident in the true pass sets, which is where Jenkins most struggled. Hopefully that progress can continue going forward.