It's been great seeing the Chicago Bears offense click over the past two weeks. In that time, they've racked up 68 points and 922 yards. After the struggles in the first three games (47 points and 750 yards), it seems that the offense has finally found its groove. Now let's see if they can maintain that level of play heading into Week 6 of the 2023 season.
The offensive line is hoping to help do that. At the start of the season, things were a mess. Left guard Teven Jenkins injured his calf and had to go on injured reserve. That meant he'd miss at least four weeks. Cody Whitehair, who was supposed to play center, moved over to Jenkins' spot. Lucas Patrick, an interior line backup, stepped in at center.
Having to shuffle the offensive line even before the start of the season was not an ideal situation. Things would get worse, though. Braxton Jones, the left tackle who played every snap in 2022, suffered a neck injury. He, too, had to go on injured reserve, after the Bears' Week 2 game.
Additionally, Nate Davis, a free-agent signee this offseason, missed two of the first three games. Even in the game he played, he struggled. At first, there was no reason given when he had a hard time. Now, however, we know what happened.
Davis was dealing with a death in his family. That took a lot out of him. He had things much bigger than football.
After missing Weeks 2 and 3, Davis came back. Since his return, he has played like the lineman that the Bears expected when they signed him. He has been solid at guard and has been a help to rookie right tackle Darnell Wright.
With an improved offensive line, the Chicago Bears offense can continue to play well.
Now, after Davis' return, Jenkins is also back. The team cleared him to play hours before their Week 5 game against the Washington Commanders. After six weeks of mending the Bears wanted him to ease in and play on just a few snaps. After that game, they'd see how he felt to determine if he should receive more snaps moving forward.
Well, that plan had to be changed. Patrick went into concussion protocol and Jenkins played a little more than planned. He ended up playing 37 snaps, or 58 percent of the total plays on offense. That was much more than the Bears wanted. In the second half, he split time with Ja'Tyre Carter.
Jenkins was not complaining about the extra snaps. He was suffering watching his teammates struggle on the field. Now that he is back, the coaches have to restrain him to make sure he does not overdo it and injure himself once again.
Playing against one of the NFL's toughest defensive fronts, not many people thought the offensive line of Chicago could have a good game. However, the unit held its own, especially in the first half. They gave quarterback Justin Fields enough time to throw downfield and opened up holes for the running game. Running back Khalil Herbert had 76 yards on nine carries just in the first half. He also got injured, though, and missed the second half.
The unit did have a rougher time in the second half. That could have been because of the adjustments that Washington did, becoming more aggressive with their blitzes. The Bears did not make adjustments of their own and the offense bogged down. However, the unit still did enough to help Fields make throws when he needed to come away with the victory.
We'll see how Jenkins feels during the week. It will be great to see if he is able to play a full game. At any rate, this could be the last week that the unit will be missing a starter. Jones is eligible to come off injured reserve after this week's game. We will then get to see the offensive line the team envisioned and hopefully the unit plays as well as the coaches expect.
One thing is for certain -- the backups will be much better after having to step in. Larry Borom has played very well in Jones' absence. Carter gained a lot of experience while starting at both guard spots. Additionally, we know that Patrick can come in and do the job. The experience they gained as starters will only help improve the offensive line. If that happens, then the offense in general will be much better. That is what we all want to see.