Teven Jenkins' stellar play with hip injury shows how good he can be

Jenkins' stellar play with hip injury shows how good he can be originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- In three short months, Teven Jenkins has gone from fringe-roster tackle to one of the best offensive guards in the NFL.

The Bears' second-year offensive lineman kicked inside partway through training camp and quickly became the starting right guard. Jenkins was platooned with Lucas Patrick early in the season, but he has taken hold of the job since Patrick went on injured reserve and has played at an impressively high level.

That he has done so while managing a nagging hip injury since before Week 1 only speaks to how good Jenkins can be at a position he is still learning.

"I'd say it's a win for me because it's my first time being at this position, and I wouldn't want to jinx it right now, but I'm playing really good," Jenkins said Friday at Halas Hall. "Hopefully, I can keep it up for the rest of the season. I want to give credit to my coaches and Michael Schofield, he has been helping me out a lot, and Sam Mustipher as well."

In nine games this season, Jenkins has allowed only nine pressures and one sack. He has been flagged for two penalties.

Jenkins has been the bright light on an offensive line that has tried several combinations to field a functional unit in front of quarterback Justin Fields.

Offensive line coach Chris Morgan has played a critical role in Jenkins' rise from third-string tackle to starting right guard, but no one is running victory laps.

"He's still improving," Morgan said. "Teven's best is still out there, like for sure. Most of us can go so much farther and we will."

Jenkins was inactive for the Bears' 31-30 Week 10 loss to the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. The nagging hip injury he has been managing since prior to the start of the season finally caused him to miss a game. Jenkins practiced in full Friday and is listed as questionable for the Bears' game against the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday.

While his status for Sunday remains up in the air, Jenkins is hopeful he will be able to give it a go against the Falcons. Missing one game was more than enough.

"It's very frustrating," Jenkins said. "I don't like missing any time. I don't like seeing my teammates, my brothers out there doing that without me. I love being out there with them and it was hard on me."

The hip injury bothers Jenkins most when he has to "sit down against the bull rush." Jenkins tested that movement and his ability to get out on the edge Friday and feels like he passed those tests.

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If Jenkins can't go, Schofield will be tabbed to start in Jenkins' place. That's fitting, given how much the veteran has helped Jenkins on his ascension this season.

"He has been a great mentor to me," Jenkins said of Schofield. "Any question I have, I go straight to him, and he tells me his insights. I mean, he has many years in the league, he has a Super Bowl ring, has a lot of insights. I respect his work a lot."

Schofield has been good for the Bears in spot duty this season. He has given up just four pressures in four games and has not allowed a sack.

While the veteran has been a reliable fill-in, the Bears undoubtedly would like to see Jenkins, who has played his way into their long-term plans, back on the field to continue his rise.

"He's mastering his craft at right guard," offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. "It's good to see."

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