Bears’ offensive-line issues getting a little dicey
With rookie tackle Larry Borom and Lachavious Simmons entering concussion protocol, the Bears had only nine healthy linemen — with backups Arlington Hambright, Alex Bars and Dieter Eiselen taking first-team reps.
The Bears have lost so many offensive linemen in the first 10 days of training camp, coach Matt Nagy didn’t even know who his first-team left tackle would be at practice Friday.
“We’ll see,” Nagy said. “We’ll see when we get out there where Juan [Castillo, the Bears’ line coach] is at. Could be a couple different guys. It could be Alex Bars. It could be Arlington Hambright.”
As it turned out, it was both. Bars opened practice with the first team after rookie Larry Borom entered concussion protocol following practice Thursday. Borom had replaced veteran Elijah Wilkinson (reserve/COVID-19 list), who was starting in place of rookie Teven Jenkins (back).
But even that didn’t last long. When right tackle Lachavious Simmons went into concussion protocol early in the padded practice, Bars moved to right tackle and Hambright — a 2020 seventh-round draft pick — played left tackle with the first team.
Simmons’ departure left the Bears with nine healthy linemen. Their makeshift starting line at that point included Hambright at left tackle, Cody Whitehair at left guard, Sam Mustipher at center, Dieter Eiselen at right guard and Bars at right tackle.
Only Whitehair and Mustipher are Week 1 starters. Jenkins was expected to start at left tackle but has yet to participate in camp -because of the back issue. Starting right guard James Daniels suffered a thigh injury Tuesday. Starting right tackle Germain Ifedi has been on the physically unable-to-perform (PUP) list since the start of camp with a hip injury.
Since cutting left tackle Charles Leno — who had started 95 consecutive games since 2015 — the Bears already have had five players at first-team left tackle in OTAs, minicamp and training camp: Wilkinson, Jenkins, Borom, Bars and Hambright.
Still eight practices into training camp, Nagy is not in panic mode about the offensive line and looking at the bright side. “It’s an opportunity [for the reserves],” he said. “I know that’s not what everybody wants to hear, but what is real is that’s that — and that’s where we’re at today. Whoever’s opportunity it is today, we’re going to get a shot to see them.”
Wide receiver Damiere Byrd left practice with a heel injury.
Friend of the program
Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson was an on-field guest at camp. Pederson, who won Super Bowl LII with the Eagles behind current Bears quarterback Nick Foles, coached with Nagy on the Eagles (2011-12) and Chiefs (2013-15).
Linebacker Alec Ogletree, who signed Thursday, had three more interceptions in various drills to give him four in two days with the Bears.
Ogletree, 29, was a seven-year starter for the Rams (2013-17) and Giants (2018-19) but has been cut by the Giants (2019) and Jets (2020) the last two seasons. His pick-six against Chase Daniel sparked the Giants to a 30-27 overtime victory against the Bears in 2018. He intercepted Mitch Trubisky in a 19-14 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field in 2019.
The Bears worked out former North Alabama defensive end Mike Boykin and former Ravens defensive tackle Willie Henry.