Chicago Bears right guard Nate Davis is likely going to miss more time due to personal reasons this weekend after similar circumstances kept him off the field for much of training camp, but there is now at least a little bit more clarity as to what has kept him away from his new team so much over the past few months.
On Saturday, the Bears officially downgraded Davis to doubtful on their injury report for Week 2’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, setting the stage for either Dan Feeney or Ja’Tyre Carter to take his place in the starting lineup for the matchup. According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, the 26-year-old guard will not travel with the team to Tampa as he deals with a death in the family that occurred Saturday morning.
“This family health situation has been on-going throughout the offseason and is the non-injury reason for his absence throughout camp/preseason,” Cronin wrote on X.
The new details about what has been happening in Davis’ personal life explain why the former Tennessee Titans guard — who signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Bears in March — missed the majority of training camp and preseason this summer. While he was also dealing with an injury, Bears general manager Ryan Poles made it clear after the roster cutdown that a “combination of things” was behind his absences.
Now, the Bears must find a way to move forward while keeping Davis in their thoughts. They will be without both of their starting guards — assuming Davis does not play — for Sunday’s road game in Tampa with left guard Teven Jenkins still on injured reserve. How they will choose to handle that lineup change, though, remains to be seen.
Will Bears Start Dan Feeney or Ja’Tyre Carter at RG?
The Bears now have less than 24 hours to figure out what their backup plan will be for Davis at the right guard position, but they are essentially down to two main options.
The most logical choice appears to be Carter. The 2022 sixth-round pick seemed to take a noticeable step forward during his second training camp and worked with the starters for the majority of the summer while Davis was away. Carter also started at right guard in all three preseason games, allowing three pressures and one quarterback hit over 69 pass-blocking snaps and tying for the 10th-best overall grade among all guards (82.8), according to Pro Football Focus’ offensive line grading metrics.
Then again, there is a case to be made for Feeney getting the spot start on Sunday. The Bears flipped a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins to add the 29-year-old to their rotation and have since mentioned how much they like his positional versatility as someone who has started games at both guard and center in recent seasons.
If the Bears are feeling comfortable with Feeney’s knowledge of the system and would prefer to have more experience standing in for Davis, he could get the nod in Tampa.
Bears Elevate OT Aviante Collins to Game-Day Roster
Regardless of their right guard decision, the Bears have taken measures to ensure they will have a little more offensive line depth on their game-day roster in Week 2.
In addition to downgrading Davis and cornerback Josh Blackwell on their injury report, the Bears also flexed veteran offensive tackle Aviante Collins from the practice squad to their active roster. The 30-year-old Collins has been in the league since 2017, but he has only played in seven games during that time, including two games with Dallas in 2022.
Collins appears to just be an emergency depth option for the Bears, but he will likely get a shot at playing some special teams reps if he takes one of their game-day active spots.