With the Bears eliminated from playoff contention, much was made about the team’s decision to start Germain Ifedi over Larry Borom at right tackle against the Seahawks. It ended up being a moot point since Teven Jenkins was hurt early in the game and Borom moved over to the left side to replace him, but the point remained: with games that could be used to help develop some of the team’s young talent, why was the decision made to sideline Borom?
“You get to these points right now in the season, and especially when we’re not able to make the playoffs, I understand that everybody’s going to have their own opinion,” Matt Nagy said. “There’s a dynamic to who each player is and the roles that they’ve come into,” I think if you look at Ifedi and where he was last year here as a guard, and then we changed him to tackle, and the way he finished in such a great way was neat to see. Then coming into this year we have two young draft picks that we got for the future, but Ifedi’s still the starter. He came in and I thought that he was playing well. Then he got hurt.”
Ifedi’s knee injury in Week 5 opened the door for Borom to take over once he fully recovered from his own ankle injury. From Week 9 through Week 15, Borom made the most of that opportunity, and his coaches liked what they saw. It also gave the team a longer runway to get Ifedi back to 100%.
Once Borom went on the reserve/COVID-19, the Bears had to fill the vacuum again. Ifedi came back and reclaimed the starter’s role ahead of the Vikings game. But leading up to last week’s Seahawks game, Borom was cleared to return to the team, and the Bears were faced with another decision.
“These guys, all individually, they put in their own time and effort in trying to get back and trying to play for the team and their teammates, so there's more dynamics than just ‘play this guy or play that guy.’ That's what we deal with as coaches is making sure we deal with that.
“So looking back to last week, we had the ability with having Ifedi up and ready, what a great opportunity for him to come back in and show what he can do. Every week is a little bit different and they all have their reasons for it at different positions, so that's kind of why we did that last week.”
Nagy did leave the door open for Borom to unseat Ifedi for another start, regardless of another injury, however.
“We'll continue to evaluate each position every week and I go back to, we have depth there. We like that. And that's kind of why we did what we did last week and now we'll always continue to evaluate and we'll see where that goes this week.”