Newly formed Chicago Bears interior will be thrown to fire vs Rams

Chicago Bears (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

On paper, the Chicago Bears did an excellent job tying together loose ends and putting their interior offensive line together. They invested second-round draft picks in Cody Whitehair and James Daniels and were a bit fortunate to find a gem of a UDFA in Sam Mustipher, who is locked into starting at center. The pieces are forming together for this group.

However, while it is starting to look optimistic, the reality is that this group has not played together yet, and it will take some time to gel.

The most significant factor is James Daniels. Daniels was having a great start to his 2020 season before a pectoral injury ruined everything. Now, he is coming off of the injury and is being asked to switch from left to right guard. Daniels moved around often in college and spent a lot of time at center, so the left and right designation are not game-changers. Still, changing positions and coming back from an injury is a lot. Beyond that, when he left last season, Mustipher was a backup, and Cody Whitehair was the starting center.

Interestingly enough, the last time Whitehair started at center was against the LA Rams. An injury moved him out of the lineup and shoved Mustipher in. Mustipher had his worst game against the Rams; of course, he was thrown in cold against Aaron Donald.

From there, Mustipher rebounded in a big way and showed that he could start in the NFL. While it was nice that Mustipher stepped up last season, it has to be mentioned he has seven career starts, and Jacksonville, Detroit, Houston, and a beat-down Minnesota group were four of the games. He also started against Green Bay twice and New Orleans, but those were games where he struggled more often.

Whitehair has the least of the questions, but he did have some injury issues in 2020 and did play multiple positions. It may finally be continuity after finishing the year next to Mustipher, but now his left tackle is becoming a revolving door. It is never easy for Whitehair in Chicago.

The reality is that while Daniels will adjust and Mustipher will toughen up as he prepares against more and more competition, these two, in particular, will have some growing pains playing beside each other for the first time.

When you add in that Aaron Donald is on the other side, it increases the difficulty ten-fold. Sebastian Joseph-Day and A’Shawn Robinson do not get the talk, but they do their job, eating blocks for Donald to take off.

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If the offensive line does not get off the blocks hot, or they have some issues along the way, do not write off Daniels or Mustipher this early in the year. Both should improve dramatically from this experience.