Loser No. 2: Chicago Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo
There’s more than enough of a reason to be buoyant about what Juan Castillo’s overseeing for the Chicago Bears’ offensive line could mean. In just the last five years, he anchored the Buffalo Bills to two top-10 finishes in the running game and led some of the more memorable ground games of this past decade in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
And from 2014 to 2016 as the Ravens’ offensive line coach, Baltimore’s line finished tied for No. 1 in sacks allowed (just 1.1 allowed in 2014), No. 3 in 2015, and No. 13 in 2016. That’s special. Equipment managers in Baltimore were likely thankful to have him.
And while he’s more than capable of doing so in the Windy City, the lack of preseason play makes that much more difficult. Ask any Chicago Bears enthusiast what non-Foles vs. Trubisky position battle do they think holds the most importance, and you won’t get too far without discussing some of the offensive line battles.
This year’s right guard battle would’ve been must-watch, and maybe not for all of the right reasons. It reads as a two-way competition between a converted nose tackle in Rashaad Coward, and former Seahawk Germaine Ifedi, a guard with more false start penalties (8) than any player not named Laremy Tunsil. And should Ifedi win the now-done-away-with position battle, here’s what that means.
The Chicago Bears have two of the NFL’s five most penalized offensive lineman in their starting lineup (Charles Leno Jr. had 12).
There’s a lot to like about the rest of this group, with Cody Whitehair and James Daniels, especially. And Bobby Massie could be due for a redemptive season. But if there’s any struggle, would it not be difficult to put in a different guy with no film against NFL competition in their back pocket?
Historically speaking, we’ve seen what happens when Castillo inherits castoff lines lacking elite talent. As fellow Bear Goggles On writer Parker Hurley brought out, the Bears ranked No. 27 and No. 30 in adjusted line yards in Buffalo, and that played into his dismissal.
For instance, the Chicago Bears will lose a valuable opportunity to see their two seventh-round picks, Arlington Hambright and Lachavious Simmons, play against non-Bear competition. They would’ve had their calling, especially in those third and fourth preseason games, and now, without a preseason, and the ensuing roster cuts, their seats get a little hotter.
Methinks Castillo helps make the Bears a more efficient rushing offense, regardless of how many times Nagy actually runs the ball. But it certainly would’ve been an added boost to see how the depth shook out with a preseason game or two.