The Bears finally snapped their five-game losing streak, improving to 4-7 with a Thanksgiving win against the Lions. While the production crew at Sunday Night Football may have gotten fans’ hopes up by saying they’re “in the hunt” for the playoffs, the fact of the matter is they’re sitting at 14th place in the conference, ahead of only the Seahawks and Lions. The playoffs are a distant dream this season, but with a solid core of young players the future is still bright. Developing those players is still paramount.
The growth of rookie quarterback Justin Fields is without question the most important piece to the Bears’ puzzle moving forward. Not far behind him in organizational importance is rookie tackle Teven Jenkins. But as of now, the Bears haven’t made known any plans to work Jenkins into the starting rotation.
“Now that you’re into the season and where we’re at, we just keep an eye on how our offensive line is doing and how they’re going,” Matt Nagy said. “Jason Peters I think has done a really good job in so many different ways. Right tackle with (Larry) Borom coming in and doing what he’s done, he’s helped us out with injuries that we had to Ifedi. And so, you know, I think for us we always just kind of— we’ll be prepared for if this guy gets injured or if we feel like this guy is not playing well, kind of play it out, those two ways. But right now we feel good with where we’re at. So if anything it provides major depth for us. And then we just play out the scenarios.”
The Bears should feel good about where they’re at, too. Peters has been reliable protecting Fields’ blindside after coming into training camp off the street. Fifth-round rookie Borom has been equally impressive on the right side, after missing several weeks due to a high ankle sprain.
Jenkins has missed even more time than Borom, and the Bears will need to decide whether to activate him to the active roster or not, soon. After missing all of training camp, and most of the regular season, the Bears opened Jenkins’ 21-day window to return to the active roster on Nov. 15. During that time, he was allowed to come back to practice, and Nagy says they’ve been impressed by what they’ve seen. But they’ll need to place him on the active roster by next Monday, or else Jenkins will miss the rest of the season. If they do activate him, the Bears will then need to decide how, or even if, they want to work him into the offensive line rotation.
As mentioned at the start, the Bears are still technically only one game out of the final playoff spot. From a competitor’s standpoint, that’s no time to start focusing on the future. But if the Bears rattle off a couple more losses, it’s fair to wonder whether that thinking will change.