Sam Mustipher earning starting role with Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have five more games to see if they have a starting center in Sam Mustipher

With an injury to Cody Whitehair against the Los Angeles Rams, the second-year UDFA from Notre Dame, Sam Mustipher, was thrown into NFL action for the first time with the Chicago Bears. He was introduced to Aaron Donald, and in his second start saw a stout New Orleans Saints front. In that start, he saw a knee injury that sidelined him for the next two weeks as well.

With Cody Whitehair returning before Mustipher was healthy it may have been the end of Mustipher starting in 2020. However, the Chicago Bears know that Whitehair would be better off down the road at guard, and Mustipher showed just enough flashes against the elite competition to deserve another crack at starting.

With Whitehair and Mustipher’ss former teammate Alex Bars beside him along with the added bye week, this was a great chance for the Bears to get a real look at Mustipher. The Packers pass rush is not elite, but Mustipher spent most of his day on the likes of Kenny Clark.

With that in mind, Mustipher did not allow a single pressure in a game where the Bears offensive line had three sacks and ten pressures allowed. Beyond that, the Chicago Bears did not have a single snap issue, which has been a silent killer with Cody Whitehair.

Below is a snap of strong pass protection by Mustipher. To start, he did a great job of snapping and getting his head up immediately, which sounds basic, but has set back Whitehair at times. In the play below, you see a stunt. Mustipher intially has eyes on 91, Preston Smith. However, he notices quickly that Smith is stunting inside.

Mustipher does not leave his lane and chase Smith, but recognizes the stunt, and takes on 52, Rashan Gary as he twists inside. This shows great awareness and discipline to pick up his man.

Of the five Chicago Bears offensive line, PFF graded Mustipher as the top pass protector of the bunch. It would be beneficial for the team to see what they have in Mustipher at center, and whether or not he has what it takes to start at center in the NFL.

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If the Bears could go into 2020 knowing that Mustipher can start and that Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are capable at guard, it would ease at least one concern heading into the offseason.