Chicago Bears Week One: Interior O-line will be tested
One of the most important matchups for the Chicago Bears in Week One is their interior offensive line against the interior defensive line of the Green Bay Packers
When the Chicago Bears open their new era against the Green Bay Packers, all eyes are going to be on Mitchell Trubisky and Aaron Rodgers in their season debuts. However, one matchup that may be just as telling as the quarterbacks will be the Chicago Bears offensive line against the Green Bay Packers defensive line.
The Green Bay Packers defense has been rebuilding over the last couple of seasons. This is why they have been unable to cash in on Aaron Rodgers talent recently. However, they are hoping that their revamped defensive line is strong enough to lead them to the promised land. Or at least past the Chicago Bears.
Mike Daniels has been their consistent staple since 2012. Used in a rotational role for his first two seasons, Daniels has been a staple in the middle over the past four years, compiling 18.5 sacks.
Now, the Packers are starting to build talent around him. Kenny Clark is entering his third season with the Green Bay Packers. The former first-round pick exploded onto the scene last season after serving in a rotational role as a rookie. If he can continue his linear progression, he is going to be a force at the nose tackle spot, freeing up more penetrating opportunities for Daniels.
With the homegrown talent of young and old, the starting group was amplified by the free agent signing of Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a former first-round pick with two ten sack seasons under his belt. Albeit, in 2013 and 2015. Wilkerson has had some off of the field issues in his past and has even had some effort issues on the field. However, if a team can reel him in, he is a supreme talent. The idea is that a winning organization such as Green Bay could pull that out of him. With homegrown talent in Dean Lowry and Montravious Adams filling the depth, this is the strongest this group has looked for the Packers in a few years.
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The revamped unit will have a chance to make its statement against a Chicago Bears interior offensive line that should at least provide a test. The unit is as healthy as it has been in years, and has high expectations as well.
This starts with the big name Kyle Long. Long is back from having injuries at seemingly every body part over the last two seasons. Long appears to be fully healthy and in his best shape in years. He will be seeing a lot of Wilkerson on Sunday, so we will see a potential star vs. potential star battle for two players looking to get back into shape.
In the middle is Whitehair. Aside from snapping issues, Whitehair is still a force in the middle when it comes to blocking. Entering year three, the early second round pick will battle with the late first round pick Clark in that same draft.
Lastly, at the right guard spot, we see Eric Kush. Kush is a coaches favorite and went untested against James Daniels in the preseason. Kush is going to have to live up to his coaches hype, as he will get the sure-handed veteran in Daniels. This is arguably the spot where the Packers may have the advantage.
We will finally see if Kush can live up to the hype, or if he proves to be a liability that forces James Daniels into the lineup. We will also see two high-quality matchups that should highlight the Chicago Bears season opener.