Chicago Bears Film Review: Cody Whitehair up and down at LG
Cody Whitehair moved to left guard for the Chicago Bears. How did he look?
It came as a mild surprise out of the bye week, but the Chicago Bears shook up their offensive line. That involved starting Sam Mustipher at center and pushing Cody Whitehair to left guard. Anyone who has followed the Bears knows that Whitehair is better off at guard and started the first nine games of 2019 there. After another bad snap against the Vikings before the bye, it was fair to make the switch.
However, Whitehair had been struggling in general, and after missing time with a calf injury it was worth wondering if that had lingering effects on his poor performance against the Vikes.
In his start against the Packers, it is fair to say that we saw the good which came from moving him to guard along with the bad that has shown throughout his woeful 2020 season.
To start with the good, we all saw the first big run of the game by David Montgomery. The burst of Mongtomery captivated many, but the blocking up front was the best he had seen all season. With Whitehair leading the way, it looked as though the move was a no brainer.
You can see that Whitehair gets a strong push off of the football and moves his man, creating a huge hole for David Montgomery to run through. The hole would have been there, but Whitehair helped part the red sea with that block.
Things started well, but overall, Whitehair was up and down. Below you can see him matched up against Za’Darius Smith. We noted pregame that getting Smith against centers and guards brings out the best in pass rush.
That was exemplified against Whitehair. Smith usually can win with a quick juke or hard step and he does fake Whitehair inside at first. However, what is concerning is that from there, Smith gets under Whitehair and is able to power the guard who has size over him.
Kenny Clark is a bit of a bigger test. However, once again, we see Whitehair lose the battle of power. In this play, Whitehair is expected to help chip Clark and get to the second level to block #58, Christian Kirksey.
However, while he is expected to give Clark a little push to knock him off balance, it ends up being Clark who knocks Whitehair out of the play. Whitehair ends up on the ground, and Kirksey is clean to the ball carrier. Beyond that, Clark is able to spin around and seal off any path.
In the play below we see a potential miscommunication. The Packers run a stunt with their two tackles crossing paths in the middle of the field. Whitehair is expected to block 94, but recognize him stunting, and pass him off to Sam Mustipher. Mustipher should see 97, Kenny Clark stunting, and be prepared to pick up 94.
Mustipher does not look prepared for the stunt either, so it may not be on Whitehair. However, Whitehair does not either and pushes 94 right into his teammate. The issue is that Green Bay drew it up that way, and two linemen took out one Packer. This frees Kenny Clark to get a clear path to the quarterback.
With a young starting center, Mitch Trubisky behind center, and Whitehair in a new starting spot, this may have been expected. Still, the worst season of Whitehair’s career is continuing. You could argue he was bound to have a down year at some point, and it has come.
It will be interesting to see if the Bears can keep Mustipher at center, and therefore keep Whitehair at guard. Whitehair played left guard in 2019 but also has played right guard, which may be where he would wind up if the Bears can trust James Daniels to return healthy.