Bears O-Line Watch: Breaking down Day 1 of training camp

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The Chicago Bears have kicked off training camp, and there are plenty of storylines we’re monitoring this summer.

One of the biggest is the offensive line — specifically, what will the starting combination look like? And how quickly are they going to figure that out?

Head coach Matt Eberflus reiterated that all starting combinations are open heading into training camp. Although it certainly appears that things are becoming clearer following the additions of veterans Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield earlier this week.

“We have to keep an open mind into the best combination, the best five, and the best three guys after that,” Eberflus said. “So it’s important that we keep an open mind.”

Things should start to become clearer when the pads come on for the first time during next Monday’s practice.

Here’s a look at how the offensive line shook out during the first practice of training camp on Wednesday, focusing on the battles at the tackle and right guard positions.

Left tackle

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones saw reps at left tackle during the final week of OTAs and during mandatory minicamp, and he appeared to be a contender for the starting job. But while Jones was once again taking reps at left tackle with the starters during Wednesday’s team drills, he’s not expected the team’s starting left tackle when the regular season begins.

That honor will go to newcomer Riley Reiff, who signed with the team Tuesday. Reiff was limited during Wednesday’s practice as he gets up to speed after signing with the team on Tuesday. Reiff did take starting reps at left tackle during individual drills, and it would be a surprise if he isn’t running with the 1’s when he fully gets into the swing of things.

Right Guard

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears had a gaping hole at the right guard position following the departure of James Daniels in free agency. For most of the offseason, it was Sam Mustipher occupying the starting role. He was competing with Dakota Dozier for the starting role before Dozier landed on injured reserve in minicamp. When the team hit the practice field on Wednesday, Mustipher was once again starting at right guard.

Chicago signed veteran Michael Schofield this week. While he could factor into their plans at guard or tackle, Schofield figures to be the favorite to start at right guard this season. Schofield was limited during Wednesday’s practice as he, like Reiff, gets up to speed after joining the team on Monday. Once Reiff is ready, the expectation is he’ll see more reps with the starters at right guard.

Right Tackle

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Borom saw time at both left tackle and right tackle during the offseason. But he started training camp as he ended the offseason program at right tackle with the starters. Borom figures to be the favorite to win the starting right tackle job, where he looks to be in competition with last year’s second-round pick Teven Jenkins and fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones.

It might be time to start worrying about how Jenkins factors into things on the offensive line. After starting the offseason program as the starting right tackle, he was demoted to the second team during the final week of OTAs and minicamp. It certainly wasn’t encouraging to find him still with the backups when training camp kicked off. The Bears are looking at Jenkins as a potential swing tackle. Could he be in danger of not making the roster? It might be a little too early to start worrying about that. But concern is valid.

Starters on Day 1

Here’s a look at who lined up with the starters during team drills:

  • LT: Braxton Jones

  • LG: Cody Whitehair

  • C: Lucas Patrick

  • RG: Sam Mustipher

  • RT: Larry Borom

Projected Starters for 2022 season

Here’s our projected starting offensive line for Week 1:

  • LT: Riley Reiff

  • LG: Cody Whitehair

  • C: Lucas Patrick

  • RG: Michael Schofield

  • RT: Larry Borom

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