Teven Jenkins was arguably the best offensive lineman on the Chicago Bears last season. Now, the team will have to make do without a key part of its offense for some time. Jenkins has been placed on injured reserve due to a leg injury, the team said Wednesday. That means the left guard will be sidelined for at least the first four games of the regular season.
With Jenkins out, Chicago's offensive line continues to be decimated throughout training camp. Starting center Cody Whitehair has dealt with a hand injury while backup guard/center Lucas Patrick missed most of camp with an undisclosed injury. Nate Davis recently returned from injury.
The injuries to the interior of the Bears' offensive line will have an impact on Justin Fields' development in 2023, as a passer anyway. Chicago has never had a quarterback throw for 4,000 yards nor pass for 30 touchdowns in a season -- the only franchise in NFL history to not have either. Fields could be the first after a 2022 season in which he completed 60.4% of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
Fields also rushed for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns, finishing with the second-most rushing yards for a quarterback in a season. He's the first quarterback on record to record three or more rushing touchdowns of 50-plus yards in a single season.
The Bears may have to rely on Fields to run more than usual while Jenkins is out, especially since he was arguably their best pass protector last year. He allowed just two sacks and 10 pressures on 284 pass-blocking snaps, with a 3.5% pressure rate allowed per dropback -- while playing right guard.