74 Comments

Borom Starting a Sign: Bears Know Who They Are

| August 21st, 2022


The Bears know who they are. And that is refreshingly unlike them.

It would have been easy for Eberflus, Poles, Chris Morgan, etc. to plop their recently-signed veteran offensive linemen into the starting lineup and lean on their experience to stabilize the position group. Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield would not have elevated the 2022 OL to the status of good (or even almost good) but it would have elevated the floor of that room’s potential to not terrible.

But that is not what this leadership did. In the last week or so they slid Teven Jenkins inside, a projected move that caused consternation from the player earlier in the year. To say Jenkins has thrived would be an overstatement, but the Bears are excited by what they’ve seen thus far and Jenkins has wholly bought in to the project.

And, while most of us believed Larry Borom was just place holding for a resting Reiff, Eberflus announced publicly that the former is actually now the starter. (See Courtney’s above tweet.) Is there still competition for the job? Of course. But it’s Borom’s to lose and that is no small thing.

This is a franchise operating with a plan; making roster decisions with the future squarely in mind. The Bears don’t gain anything for 2023 and beyond if Reiff and Schofield play meaningful snaps in 2022, outside of perhaps giving Justin Fields a bit more reliability up front. Playing Jenkins and Borom on the right side gives the Bears a full season to evaluate two potential starters.

Will that come with some growing pains? Of course. But the end result of growing pains is growth. And the potential upside of playing these two on the right side is having the right side solidified for the foreseeable future with two players under 25 years old.

If Jenkins flames out, you turn to Schofield. If the Borom party becomes unruly, Reiff is ready to clean up the mess. Young talent on the field. Veteran experience on the bench. This is how a team at this stage of the process should be constructed.

But that requires the organization acknowledging where they are in the championship process. The Bears – by making the moves they have along the offensive line – are showing us all they are who we think they are.

Tagged: ,

146 Comments

Training Camp Thoughts, Volume I: Jaylon’s Quote, Reiff’s Arrival & More.

| July 28th, 2022


As training camp progresses, there are a myriad of outlets to find information on the comings and goings at practice, specifically those paid to attend and report on the practices. What I’ll try to do is add some color to the proceedings here. Sometimes that will be in the form a longer post and sometimes – like today – just bullet points.

_______________________

  • Adam Hoge was the first place I saw this telling quote from Jaylon Johnson, re: the new staff: “The way they hold us accountable is crazy, compared to what we’re used to.” At the end of the Nagy era, this became a major issue with ownership. They could not understand why Allen Robinson was continually given playing time while obviously having no interest in playing. They could not understand why Mario Edwards was continually given reps, mindless penalty after mindless penalty. One text from someone close to ownership wondered if the football team “lacked integrity”. They did.
    • And I am going to do my best to ensure that is the last mention of the previous regime. At some point you have to move on. The Bears did that in January. Bears fans have to follow suit.
  • The signings of Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield are interesting, but I’m still interested in how the Bears intend to deploy Teven Jenkins. Several folks inside the building believe Reiff will start at left tackle and Jenkins best path to playing time is at right guard. (They’re paying Reiff to start. They’re paying Schofield zero guaranteed dollars.)
    • This could set the stage for a camp battle between Braxton Jones and Larry Borom at right tackle. But the Bears sincerely like Jones.
  • Conditioning alert! Every Bear passed what is notoriously a pretty rigorous test. Roquan Smith has opened on the PUP list, suffering from what most economists call “light bank balance”.
  • Schofield’s press conference was terrific. The guy seemed genuinely thrilled to be playing for his hometown team. He also admitted he wanted to be a receiver when younger because of Marty Booker.
  • DBB appeared on Wednesday’s edition of The Irish Bears Show. You can see the entire appearance by CLICKING HERE.

Oh, and the Loch Ness Monster could be a real thing.

Tagged: , , ,

160 Comments

Dannehy: Late Signings Should Protect Fields, Bears

| July 27th, 2022


Evaluating Justin Fields is the most important aspect of the 2022 season, but it would’ve been impossible to do if he was constantly on his back. While neither Riley Reiff nor Michael Schofield are actual difference makers along the offensive line, they are capable bodies who should help keep Fields upright in 2022.

Going into the season with some combination of Sam Mustipher and late-round draft picks at right guard and Larry Borom and a late-round pick at left tackle would’ve been asking for disaster. The inevitable outcome would have been an injury to Fields and a Fields injury is the worst 2022 outcome possible.

Nobody should mistake the late activity as a great success. The Bears still have one of the worst starting offensive lines in the league. But it probably isn’t the worst, which it was five days ago. Bears fans have seen Reiff enough to know that he’s a below average offensive tackle. The same can be said for Schofield at right guard. Both players were on teams who made considerable moves to upgrade their offensive lines this past offseason.

In both cases, the players possess some position versatility. If one of the young tackles — Tevin Jenkins, Larry Borom or Braxton Jones — breaks out, Reiff can switch sides or move inside to guard. (The team reportedly guaranteed him $10 million, so you can bet he will be playing somewhere.) Schofield could move to right tackle if none of the tackles perform at a capable level.

Both players should also be familiar with the scheme as both played in the wide zone under Gary Kubiak. Reiff did so in Minnesota and Schofield began his career with the Broncos when Kubiak was the head coach.

The signings aren’t long-term fixes, and they don’t make the Bears Super Bowl contenders, but they should help keep Fields healthy and nothing is more important.

Tagged: ,