Teven Jenkins went through some emotions over the past month. He started the year as a favorite to start at left or right tackle for the Chicago Bears. Then he was demoted to the second and third-team offenses by the end of minicamps. He missed eight practices when training camp began, leading many to wonder if the absence was more about mental issues than injury-related, as the Bears insisted. Either way, Jenkins didn’t know what to expect when he returned.
After playing the preseason opener at tackle, the 24-year-old got a phone call from offensive line coach Chris Morgan. The team wanted to move him to guard. The trio of Braxton Jones, Riley Reiff, and Larry Borom looked like the obvious options at tackle. Chicago didn’t want to let a talent like Jenkins twist in the wind without giving him an opportunity to regain his footing elsewhere.
After two practices, the Bears wasted no time throwing him into the fire against the Seattle Seahawks’ starting defense in the second preseason game. Rather than crumble, Jenkins held his own. He showed power in the run game and surprising awareness in pass protection. The performance wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to keep him in the starting spot for another week as the preseason finale looms in Cleveland.
One more good outing could see him secure the job. A remarkable turn of events after what happened barely a few weeks ago. It was interesting to hear Jenkins’ thoughts on the transition. He was asked what made guard more fun to him than tackle. His answer was a look inside his psyche as a player: physicality. The thing he likes most is getting his hands on an opposing defender faster rather than having to wait at tackle.
People never realized how vital the former Pro Bowler was to the offensive line until he was gone. Aside from being a freak athlete, Long was also the tone-setter of the group. He played with that intensity and violence needed from such blockers. When he left, the Bears lost their identity up front. Nobody replaced what he brought. GM Ryan Poles recognized that from the moment he took over. The group was too soft. They needed more glass-eaters.
That is where Teven Jenkins comes in. His calling card from his days at Oklahoma State was that of a bully. He loved to put defenders on their backs at every opportunity. He’d play through the echo of the whistle. The common description of him was “controlled chaos.” It isn’t a coincidence he was the only one willing to start fights with opponents if they tried dirty hits on Justin Fields.
It is likely the reason they gave him another shot to join the starting five despite his disappointing demotion two months ago. One must give credit to Matt Eberflus for keeping the door open. Other coaches may have washed their hands of the issue. Instead, he recognized the talent Jenkins had and tried to find a solution that benefited the team. It appears he’s succeeded.
Man when you watch Jenkins you know he’s got ability. The talent is visible. How many linemen have we endured that didn’t give you any faith? We also know his real attitude from his college film. OK, so his feet or something aren’t quite NFL OT fast, I suppose is now confirmed. Mike Gundy is no fool. He didn’t put TJ at LT either. But you don’t throw the man in the trash after he’s played 3 games. He still has value.
Jenkins is going to be a monster all season. Defenses are not going to like him.
With Tyron Smith going down Reiff may have trade value. If Borom is going to start would you take a 3rd or 4th round pick for Reiff? I’d have to think it over.
Jones might be the best of all of them.
im not sold on Jones being ready at LT … I like Borrom – Whitehair -Lucas -Jenkins – Ratief …
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