The Chicago Bears thought that adding Cody Whitehair could give their offense a boost. They were wrong
Before missing weeks eight and nine with COVID related issues and a calf injury, Cody Whitehair was also playing some of his worst football since being drafted. The injury may not have been surprising given his play, and some time off may have been needed. With that in mind, the Chicago Bears were thankful that he was ready to return for a Week 10 game against a division rival.
The thought was that Whitehair would be a huge addition to the lineup, and give the Bears a needed veteran presence in the middle. However, his play on Monday was similar to before his injury and may have been worse.
It started with snap issues, but nobody was surprised by that. It is not a big play because Nick Foles caught the ball and ended up with completion on this play. However, Whitehair rolled him a ground ball.
The snap issues are one thing that is not new to Cody Whitehair, and it is something that the Bears have essentially lived with. However, it was fair to note that Whitehair had a few snaps that were not great.
Run Game Issues
Early into the game, Whitehair is looking to get into the second level and spring Cordarelle Patterson free. Patterson was hitting the hole with burst, but Troy Dye was there to make the tackle for a small gain.
The hole was there, and then it was not. Whitehair had his hands on Dye and then he did not. There were multiple plays similar to this on tape. According to PFF, Monday was the third-worst game that Whitehair had against the run in 2020, with the Colts and Rams being worse. We highlighted the issues against the Colts as they derailed the offense, and he would up leaving against LA with his calf injury.
Pass Protection Issues
The Minnesota Vikings destroyed the Chicago Bears with the blitz. While issues with Rashaad Coward and Germain Ifedi highlighted the issues veterans Nick Foles and Cody Whitehair are expected to get the unit on the same page as the quarterback and center duo. Seeing the duo fail against the blitz is disheartening.
The play below is confusing for Whitehair. At the snap, he seems to be keyed in on #50, who is showing blitz. However, 50 follows the running back out of the backfield. Still, Whitehair follows his man, even though the Vikings are stunting into him.
Number 98 stunts into the center, who is keyed in on 50. This allows 98 to walk in for an easy sack.
Foles likely called for Whitehair to pick up 50. Still, a veteran like Whitehair sees 50 flaring out and picks up that stunt almost every single time. Those were usually untalked about but appreciated plays that Whitehair made.
When Whitehair struggles to keep a speedy linebacker capped at the second level, you can question his calf issue. However, the issues with the blitz and plays like the one below are out of character.
As noted, this has been a theme as well. According to PFF, he has a pass-blocking grade below 30 in each of the past four games he has started. He has just three games like that from 2016-2019. Those games were all spread out, and never came with more than two in one year, To see him put four of his worst seven career games together in the same span has to be a signal that something is up for Whitehair. Did he come back from the injury too soon? Was he playing with it for too long beforehand?