Chicago Bears starting left guard Teven Jenkins began his 2023 campaign on IR with a calf injury — an injury that seemingly came out of nowhere. Bears insider Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune has revealed how the injury occurred.
According to Biggs, Jenkins, who told the media he was feeling healthy and ready to go prior to Chicago’s second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts on August 19, took part in a conditioning drill with the team’s starters before the game, which is when his calf injury occurred.
“Jenkins was fine after the team’s joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 17. Shortly after the team returned to Halas Hall after the Aug. 19 preseason game, word filtered out he was injured and would be sidelined to begin the season,” Biggs wrote on September 11, before revealing what his sources told him about how the injury was sustained.
“I was told healthy players that were not scheduled to play against the Colts — Matt Eberflus held out nearly all of his starters — were put through a conditioning drill prior to the game. It was then that Jenkins’ calf injury occurred. That would explain how Jenkins was fine after wrapping up practices with the Colts, didn’t play in the game and was injured before the Bears got home.”
Bears OL Could Sure Use Teven Jenkins
The Bears placed Jenkins on injured reserve before the season began, so he’ll miss at least the first four games. Jenkins was Chicago’s best offensive lineman in 2022, playing 576 total snaps at right guard (304 pass block, 272 run block). He allowed two sacks and 10 hurries as a starter, per PFF, but the injury bug won’t stop biting him, and Jenkins can’t help the team if he can’t stay on the field.
Back surgery cut his rookie season short, forcing him to miss 10 games, while a neck injury the following year in 2022 limited the former second-round pick to 13 games (11 starts).
There’s just one week of the 2023 NFL season in the books, but the Bears’ offensive line didn’t look great in the team’s 38-20 season opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. According to PFF, the Bears allowed the second-most quarterback pressures in the NFL Week 1 (35). Starting QB Justin Fields was sacked four times, and while at least one of those is on Fields, his line did him zero favors.
Will Bears Use Veteran OL Dan Feeney Soon?
The Bears sent a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for veteran guard Dan Feeney after Jenkins was injured, but he didn’t play at all Week 1. Feeney has experience playing at every position on the interior of the line, including center.
“I think I can play all three at a high level, so being able to swing all three inside I think’s good,” Feeney said in his first press conference after joining the Bears. “It helps to be versatile for this team. That’s what I’m gonna try and do.”
Lucas Patrick started at center for the Bears Week 1 and allowed five pressures, and Feeney is currently listed on the depth chart behind Patrick.
Feeney has 64 career starts, but he has started just seven games over the past two seasons. He has spent the bulk of his career playing center and left guard, and has generally looked most solid at center.
He last played center during the 2020 season. In 729 pass block snaps, he allowed 24 hurries, five QB hits and 4.0 sacks. If Patrick doesn’t step his game up soon, it might be worth taking a look at what Feeney could bring.