Bears Coach Matt Eberflus Lays Down Challenge for OL Teven Jenkins

Matt Eberflus

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus just challenged Teven Jenkins to step it up in practice.

Lucas Patrick and Teven Jenkins have been rotating at the right guard position over the first three games for the Chicago Bears, with Jenkins starting the first two and Patrick getting the nod Week 3 against the Houston Texans.

Jenkins has generally performed better in the role than Patrick, but the Bears and head coach Matt Eberflus elected to roll with the veteran over Jenkins, and Eberflus explained why the day after the Bears’ 23-20 win over the Texans.

“Yeah, so, it’s about practice,” Eberflus said. “We evaluate practice. Wednesday is a big day for us, Thursday, and Friday. And we thought that Lucas did a good job of practicing. He was solid in his practice. Teven did a nice job on Thursday and Friday but needs to have a better Wednesday for him to be able to step into that role.”

Will Patrick Move Over to Center?

It seems clear Eberflus and company want the second-year O-Lineman to step it up during team practices if he wants to be the starter at RG, but starting Patrick over Jenkins was also slightly surprising because Patrick had the cast removed on his right hand and had been taking snaps at center leading up to Week 3.

Considering how bad center Sam Mustipher had performed Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, it was a tad surprising that the Bears chose to keep Mustipher on the field snapping the ball Week 3.

Mustipher has also been dealing with snapping issues, nearly fumbling the first snap of the Bears’ September 25 game against the Texans. If Patrick, who broke the thumb on his snapping hand in late July, can snap the ball without any pain or difficulty, the Bears will likely make him the starter and slip Mustipher into a reserve role.

They should, anyway, if they want to put their best five O-Linemen on the field.

Jenkins Has Been Better at RG Than Patrick

The Bears moved Jenkins over from tackle to guard in the middle of the preseason, and he has handled the change well. “The process is actually getting a lot better,” Jenkins told Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago on September 16. “Just being thrown in the fire and having to deal with it and the role, you start to have to pick up things a lot faster. It’s basically like how you throw a kid in the pool and tell him sink or swim.”

So far, Jenkins has been paddling away — and he has been noticeably better than Patrick in both the running in passing games.

In 90 snaps played at right guard for the Bears so far this year, (38 pass block, 52 run block), Patrick has allowed four pressures, earning a pass blocking grade of 42.2 and a run blocking grade of 53.7 (numbers via Pro Football Focus).

In 72 snaps (29 pass block, 43 run block) at the same position, Jenkins has just surrendered two pressures, earning a 57.2 pass blocking grade and a 70.5 run blocking grade.

The 24-year-old Jenkins also needs as many snaps as possible after missing the bulk of his rookie year in 2021, and his development is crucial. That said, the Bears inked Patrick to a two-year, $8 million deal this offseason with the aim of making him the team’s starting center, so look for both to be in the starting lineup together very soon.

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