CHICAGO – The Chicago Bears were home dogs to the visiting San Francisco 49ers and, for much of the game, the offense was slow and mired by poor execution. It was so bad at one point that Matt Eberflus pulled starting right guard Teven Jenkins in favor of Lucas Patrick who was signed to be the starting center.
Patrick has been dealing with a broken thumb throughout most of camp and, now, into the regular season.
He played with a club – or as Eberflus calls it, the “Q-Tip” — while Sam Mustipher started at center.
After the game, Jenkins opened up about making the move to guard, how he felt he played, and just how he felt about the interesting development with the rotation up front after he seemed locked into the starting spot.
Bears’ Teven Jenkins Has Optimistic Outlook on Rotating at Guard
Jenkins Assesess His Performance
“I think I played alright,” Jenkins said while seated in front of his locker. “Of course, it’s going to be some things I need to clean up in the run game and the pass game. Overall I’d probably give myself about, probably about a ‘C+’ maybe. Not going to be too encouraged. But at the same time, not going to be too critical.”
That is a very fair assessment of Jenkins’ day.
It began rather ominously as Jenkins, the 39th-overall pick by the previous regime in 2021, was beaten badly by Niners EDGE rusher Samson Ebukam leading to a sack of Justin Fields and loss of 10 yards on third down.
Hunting szn 😤 @sosa50
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 11, 2022
That seemingly led to his being rotated out for Patrick later in a back-and-forth that went on all game. Eberflus said that they will determine whether or not that will continue next week. But Jenkins certainly made his reps count after that initial hiccup.
Right guard tracker: Teven Jenkins was in during that TD run by Khalil Herbert.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 11, 2022
How Did Jenkins Handle Rotating with Lucas Patrick?
“I feel good about it. I mean, we talked about it before the game anyways. So we knew what it was going to be before we started lining up out there. So I was very comfortable with it. Just because I got told beforehand. Rotating, right now, it’s good for the team.”
Jenkins took what could be seen as a demotion in stride; a different approach than the one reported back in the spring when Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles arrived.
Perhaps that is because this move isn’t about him as much as it is getting Patrick into game shape. He can’t do that at center at the moment with his hand clubbed so rotating him at guard with Jenkins is one way of working on his conditioning.
We will have to wait until Week 2 at Green Bay to see if they rotate against the Packers.
How Has the Transition to Guard Been?
“It’s been good. Just been repping it. Especially with our defensive line here. And that’s been very good for myself because we do have some of the top people in the NFL. And, for me, it’s been great for my development.”
Jenkins said that he has picked up several things from his veteran teammates like Patrick including to “always be physical”.
That early sack was surely a reminder to always be on too.
The transition inside was surely made easier by Jenkins’ willingness to kick inside in the first place. He had experience at the position in college. But he was billed as the Bears left tackle of the future and had to battle back from being relegated to the third-string right tackle.
“I’m willing to play wherever they want me,” he said following practice during training camp. “I want to be here in Chicago so I’m playing wherever they want me to play.”
Jenkins Future In Chicago
It was less than two weeks ago that Ian Rappoport reported the Bears were still taking calls on Jenkins.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2022
While anything is possible, it would likely take an over-the-top deal to pry loose the (co-)starting right guard.
The bigger tell could be once Patrick’s hand is free from the wrap he donned in the opener. In the meantime, Jenkins’ story is still being written in his new position. But it is certainly off to a winning start.
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