The battle for the starting position at center on the Chicago Bears offensive line could be heating up here in early August after a new report Friday. The Bears have seen a few backup players on the interior line getting more reps with the first-team unit this week after guards Teven Jenkins and Nate Davis sustained injuries. However, the big news Friday was seen at the center position.
According to Nicholas Moreano with CHGO, Jenkins and Davis were present at Friday’s practice. But they were not in pads and did not participate in drills.
Teven Jenkins and Nate Davis are here. pic.twitter.com/TnjLDWBUMz
— Nicholas Moreano (@NicholasMoreano) August 4, 2023
Hopefully, they’ll return to practice soon so they can gel with the rest of the starting lineup before the regular season. But the starting lineup isn’t set in stone yet. After all, competition for playing time and starting roles is what NFL training camp season is all about.
The Chicago Bears offensive lineup sees a shakeup
According to Brad Biggs with the Chicago Tribune, Cody Whitehair, who was the Bears’ projected starting center heading into training camp, was held out of much of the first team’s 11-on-11 period in favor of Lucas Patrick. (Patrick, by the way, is riding a high today after his former teammate, Marcedes Lewis, signed with the Bears Friday.)
RG Nate Davis missed his 3rd consecutive practice but was an on-field observer this time. LG Teven Jenkins was held out. The #Bears had Lucas Patrick take a big chunk of snaps in team drills at center in place of Cody Whitehair.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) August 4, 2023
Could Lucas Patrick overtake Cody Whitehair at center?
That’s a surprise. Patrick was signed to the Bears’ offensive line last season to add depth to the unit’s offensive line. He struggled through much of the early season before sustaining a season-ending foot injury against the New England Patriots.
The Bears added Davis with the intention that he would become the Bears’ starting right guard, with Jenkins moving to left guard. It was assumed Whitehair, a long-time Bears veteran, would easily win the center job.
After all, Whitehair is making an annual salary of $10.5 million–that’s half a million more than Davis and $6 million more than Patrick. (According to Over The Cap, Whitehair’s salary would make him the seventh-highest-paid center in the NFL.)
There is still a lot of time for this position battle to change. But the snap count between Patrick and Whitehair will be something to keep an eye on in future practices.
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