Braxton Jones' Weak Spot – Sports Illustrated

So much focus since the start of Bears camp has been on right guard Teven Jenkins, whose journey has been from left tackle to left tackle backup to right tackle backup to right guard.
In a sense, it's relieved some of the pressure on rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle as he's trying to do what no one has done in 30 years for the Bears and start opening day as a rookie left tackle.
If this is the case, Jones will get tested by one of the best on Sept. 11 with Nick Bosa lining up across the line from him. At least he could get the proper preparation considering who he could face Saturday in Cleveland.
"Right now I'm just thinking about what's ahead," Jones said. "Obviously with the Browns, you never know, they could come out and have both 90 and 95 on the field."
The Bears and Justin Fields know what that means. It means Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett. They had 6 1/2 of the nine sacks the Browns had last year against Fields in his first career start, a 26-6 Bears loss.
"So that's a big task as well," Jones said. "So right now, that's what I'm focused on right now and then once we get there I'll definitely focus on (Bosa)."
Jones had a solid first two preseason games but found some fault with his own play. Offensive line coach Chris Morgan isn't surprised he is critical of himself.
"Well, he's wired a certain way that I think he's always trying to get better," Morgan said. "You know what I mean? Certain guys you've got to lay it out for them.
"We feel like you gotta lay it out for everybody just so it's clear and everybody's on the same page, but he goes out with a plan every day–most guys do, they try to–and just trying to make gains daily. That's pretty much the biggest thing."
While facing top pass rushers sounds like a difficult ask for a rookie, Morgan says it happens every day for Braxton.
"One of the things with Braxton is he gets to go against Robert Quinn every day," Morgan said. "He gets to go against our defensive ends every day. So that work he's getting is priceless."
Jones saw his first two efforts as somewhat flawed.
I would say the biggest thing for me is anchor on the bull rush a little bit more, be prepared for it," Jones said. I've kind of put it on film that people can bull rush me, so that's what people are going to do.
"So just be more prepared for it and throw my hands. In the last preseason game, I wasn't throwing my hands very well, and I've just got to use my hands more and more efficiently."
It's something he saw a need for way back in OTAs.
"I think not everybody has their hands in the right position, but reacting and playing lower, I think that's the biggest thing for me is just certain things," he said.
Stopping the bull rush as a taller tackle with average weight and strength can be a problem without better leverage and hand usage.
"Playing lower, having better tight hands, all of that type of stuff," Jones said "Putting that together, and then when he does bull me it's just going to be a better outcome."
So it's only going to benefit Jones if he can go against either Garrett or Clowney in Saturday's preseason game. The more practice, the better, because Nick Bosa is waiting.
"We’re trying to bank reps," Morgan said. "We're trying to correct something and move on and move to the next thing to adjust. You know what I mean?
"So just excited about getting better today. That's really it. All we're doing is trying to take it day by day and be very mindful in the process right now."
Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven publisher Gene Chamberlain has covered the Bears full time for various publications, news services and websites over 30 years, including several years collaborating on weekly NFL/Bears columns with Mike Ditka and Walter Payton for the Copley Newspaper Chain.


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