'Strength' of Jenkins' game reason Bears are trying him at RG originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST – It has been a topic of discussion since the Bears moved Teven Jenkins to the second team late in OTAs. On Monday, the Bears finally gave it a shot.
There was Jenkins taking reps with the second team at right guard.
The Bears' wide-zone scheme asks a lot of the interior offensive linemen. So asking Jenkins, who only recently finished a ramp-up period after a minor injury, to juggle both tackle and guard responsibilities, says a lot about what the Bears think the young offensive lineman can handle.
"Well, I think the one thing in our system, I think I said this before is that guards get stressed mentally more than tackles do in this system," offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Monday. "So, he's someone that can, that's the strength of his game and so we want to try that and see what that looks like within what we're trying to get done."
Given how the right side of the Bears' offensive line struggled Saturday in their preseason opener, it's not surprising that head coach Matt Eberflus, Getsy, and offensive line coach Chris Morgan might look to mix things. At the very least, they are looking to see if Jenkins can provide insurance should Michael Schofield not pan out as the starting right guard.
Early in camp, we saw sixth-round rookie Ja'Tyre Carter take a lot of first-team snaps at right guard. Justin Jones thoroughly dominated him in shells and pads, showing he's not yet ready for the power and speed of the NFL game.
With Lucas Patrick's injury shifting Sam Mustipher to center, the Bears are relying on Schofield to lock down the right guard spot. But he had a tough preseason debut Saturday, so it looks like the Bears are searching for a solution to a right guard problem that might be coming down the pike.
Jenkins has said countless times that he's willing to do whatever it takes to help the Bears win. With Braxton Jones and Riley Reiff seemingly entrenched as the starting tackles, right guard might be Jenkins' best chance to crack the starting five.
Monday's practice was a light one performed without shells or pads. But backup quarterback Trevor Siemian was impressed with how Jenkins handled the right guard reps.
"Good. I mean he's a smart guy, so it's telling that he can move inside and didn't miss a beat," Siemian said. "Ultra-talented, but it's not easy moving positions like that. It will be fun to see him if he does move around. It will be fun to see how that goes."
Jenkins had a decent preseason debut Saturday. He had a rough first series (pressure allowed, penalty), but he buried a linebacker in the second half and made a nice block on the edge to open a hole for De'Montre Tuggle.
After the game, Jenkins said he was excited for Thursday's game in Seattle to continue to show the Bears he can play at an elite level.
That opportunity just might come at guard instead of tackle.
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