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Bears’ Matt Nagy won’t say if he’s switching LG Cody Whitehair, center James Daniels

The Bears flipped Whitehair from center to left guard last season, moving Daniels from left guard to center. Reversing those two is on the table heading into the Lions game.

Cody Whitehair signed a big extension as a left guard two months ago, but could be moving back to center.
Cody Whitehair signed a big extension as a left guard two months ago, but could be moving back to center.
Jeff Haynes/AP

It was pitched as the most logical idea for all parties in the offseason: James Daniels would move from left guard to center, the position he played in college, and Cody Whitehair would be a natural fit at left guard.

Now it’s possible the Bears will reverse that as they try to solve their offensive line woes.

When asked if he is considering putting Whitehair and Daniels back in the positions they played last season, Nagy declined to answer.

“That’s one thing I’m not going to get into,” he said. “But we’re going to look at a lot of different things. We’re always looking for solutions, so I’ll leave it as that.”

While it’s typical of Nagy to avoid revealing strategy, it’s odd to no-comment on a major position change like this. If he wasn’t giving it legitimate thought, he’d almost certainly deny it flatly.

Whitehair was not in the locker room when it was open to the media Thursday, and Daniels declined to talk.

Both players said during Organized Team Activities the switch was going smoothly, and the coaching staff said nothing but good things about it throughout the preseason.

“James is a stellar athlete, very smart kid who hasn’t missed a beat there,” Whitehair said in May. “He’s done a great job.”

Whitehair signed a five-year, $52.5 million extension in September with the Bears expecting him to be a long-term piece at left guard.

But very little has gone according to plan on the Bears’ offensive line. Right guard Kyle Long went on Injured Reserve last month, right tackle Bobby Massie missed a start because of vertigo and left tackle Charles Leno hasn’t played up to his standards.

Those issues have contributed to the Bears ranking 27th in rushing (80.5 yards per game) and allowing 22 sacks in eight games.