Bears Teven Jenkins will be a star in 2021
By: Dylan Clemons
The Chicago Bears are coming into this season hoping that their offense will improve. The offense the last three seasons since Matt Nagy has taken over as Head Coach has ranked, 21st, 29th, and 26th in total yards. In points scored in those three seasons, they ranked 9th, 22nd, and 29th. To put it nicely those numbers aren’t good, considering Nagy was brought in as an offensive-minded coach from the Andy Reid coaching tree.
Coming into this season, The Bears have made a few changes to the offense. The big change is at quarterback, moving on from former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky. They brought in veteran Andy Dalton via free agency and drafted Justin Fields in the first round. Chicago also added a ton of speed to that side of the ball as well bringing in running back Damian Williams, and wide receivers Dimare Byrd and Marquise Goodwin.
The Bears hope those changes can at least bring their offense to at least the middle of the pack in the league. Now, I’m going to jump into who I believe are the three most important players on the offensive side of the football for the Bears to have success this season.
Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver
Allen Robinson has been the most consistent offensive player on the team during his three years in Chicago. No matter who the quarterback is, Robison always seems to produce. In Robinson’s three seasons with the team, he has caught passes from Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Chase Daniels.
Those quarterbacks are nothing to write home about. However, it hasn’t hurt his production. Robinson saw 151 targets last season while catching 102 balls for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns. He also so the 4th most red-zone targets in the NFL last season with 19, so maybe with better quarterback play, the touchdowns will go up.
With all this production you would think that signing Robinson to a long-term extension would be a top priority for the Bears. Unfortunately, the two parties haven’t been able to come to terms with an extension during the last two off-seasons. Robinson will be playing the season on the franchise tag, which is something he isn’t happy about.
If Allen Robinson where to go down with injury the Bears would lack a true number one option in the passing game. They have some depth at receiver position with Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, Damiere Byrd, and Marquise Goodwin. However, all of them guys don’t have skills, or the body types to be a true number one option in an offense. For the bear as offense to take a step forward this season, Robinson will have to be a huge part in the offense.
Teven Jenkins, Offenisve Tackle
The Bears drafted Teven Jenkins out of Oklahoma State with the 39th pick of the NFL Draft. It was a surprise to many, that he had fallen to the second round, considering he was projected by most to be a 1st round pick. However he played mostly at the right tackle position in college, but the Bears project him to be the left tackle of the future.
The Offensive line has been a struggle for the Bears over the past few seasons. According to PFF, the Bears finished as the 20th best offensive line in football last season. That was helped by a late-season shuffle of the line. Adding Sam Mustipher to the lineup as the center, and moving pro-bowler Cody Whitehair to left guard, where he was graded as the third-best Left guard in football.
Jenkins was drafted to take the spot of seven-year starter Charles Leno. Leno was kind of a disappointment his last few seasons for the Bears, which led him to get cut this off-season. But as a former 7th round draft selection, it’s safe to say Leno outplayed his expectations.
Teven Jenkins was a first-team all-conference in the Big 12 in his senior season. He is known to be somewhat of a mauler as an offensive lineman. He Projects to be a solid run-blocker with his ability to flatten the edge for running backs. However, his short arms may hurt him in pass-blocking, with Longer athletic pass rushers can stab and separate from him.
Some scouts and the Bears believe Jenkins can come in and be a solid starter on the line. Hopefully, that is true, because the Bears don’t have much depth behind him at left tackle. With Justin Fields most likely starting at some point this season, it’s important for a rookie QB to feel comfortable in the pocket. Especially with Jenkins being on Fields’ blind side.
Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Quarterbacks
I felt like it would be criminal to leave the quarterback position off this list. But it is impossible for me to only talk about one of these guys.
I have a feeling it’s going to be a similar situation to what the Dolphins did last season. The Dolphins were 3-3 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, who was playing pretty well. But the Dolphins couldn’t fight off the temptation of the first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa and they made the switch. I see the same thing happening to Andy Dalton with Justin Fields.
Andy Dalton spent last season with Dallas Cowboys. He ended up having to take over for the injured Dak Prescott in Week 6. Dallas was 4-5 with Dalton at the helm. Dalton was very serviceable, throwing 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. I see Dalton being solid as the starter, but he’s obviously not the long-term plan.
Justin Fields is the long-term plan at quarterback in Chicago. He will be coming into the season as the QB2 in this offense. I don’t expect that to be the case for very long though. The Bears have been searching for a franchise quarterback for the entirety of their existence. Coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are on the hot seat, so I don’t believe they can wait very long.
In 2019 Fields rushed for 484 yards with 10 rushing touchdowns at Ohio State. Fields also ran a 4.46 40 yard dash on his pro day. He also happened to throw 41 touchdowns as well compared to only three interceptions. I have a feeling that Fields will take over at quarterback in Week 4 against the bad Detroit Lions team. That game gives him a solid confidence boost as he takes the reigns of the offense for the rest of the season.