Bears O-line update: Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins looking good, for starters
Jones, a fifth-round pick from Southern Utah, is expected to start the regular-season opener against the 49ers. Jenkins has established himself at right guard after moving there on Aug. 15 — though trade rumors persist.
After rookie left tackle Braxton Jones responded to the challenge of facing Robert Quinn in practice, the fifth-round pick from Southern Utah is in line for a similar challenge against 49ers Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa.
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy would not commit to a starting offensive line with the opener against the 49ers still 13 days away. But Jones figures to be the starter after a strong preseason that confirmed an impressive introduction in the offseason program.
Jones would be the first rookie to start in Week 1 at left tackle since second-round pick Troy Auzenne in 1992.
“Braxton’s done a nice job,” Getsy said. “For a young guy, he came in kind of hot — we were really excited about what he was showing. Then we put pads and it shocked him a little bit … obviously having Robert to go against every day didn’t help.
“But he did a great job of digging his feet in the ground and getting right back at it. These last two or three weeks, he’s done a nice job of getting better every day. I’m excited to see what he can do. He’s got a bunch of confidence in himself. And he’s got an opportunity to show what he’s got.”
After mixing and matching the offensive line early in training camp, the Bears settled on a starting five of Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher (starting for injured center Lucas Patrick), right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom.
Patrick, who has been out since breaking his right thumb in the second practice July 28, is expected to return in time to start against the 49ers on Sept. 11.
“I love their style of play,” Getsy said. “When our guys are getting tackled, they’re being picked up by those five guys every single time. They’re running to the ball. They’re finishing and we want to play that kind of ball. We want to play nasty. We want to be more physical than everybody else. Those guys have bought into that.”
Jenkins a keeper?
Jenkins, the Bears’ 2021 second-round pick (39th overall), also appears to have won a job — two weeks after being moved to right guard. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport is still reporting that Jenkins could be traded.
The Bears have some options — Mustipher opened camp at right guard and could return there when Patrick returns. Veteran Michael Schofield also is an option. But trading Jenkins would be a surprise after Jenkins seemed to establish himself as a viable, maybe even long-term, option the past two weeks.
“Teven’s done a great job of accepting the challenge of right guard,” Getsy said. “We threw him in there [on Aug. 15] and [three] days later he’s playing in a game in Seattle. I thought that showed one, his athleticism and two, his mental capacity. For him to go in and execute at a high level was really good.”
The Bears got a head start on cutting the roster to 53 by waiving wide receiver Kevin Shaa, center Corey Dublin and cornerback Jon Alexander.
The Bears still have to cut 23 players Tuesday to get down to 53, but can establish a 16-player practice squad Wednesday.