Grading Chicago Bears offensive line at bye week

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest topics of the 2021 season has been the Chicago Bears’ offensive line. However, during the heat of the season, it is hard to say what exactly the issues are until you put each player under the microscope. With the bye week, it is a good chance to go back through individual performances to decide which players are perfuming, and which are holding the unit back.

How would you grade each player?

Chicago Bears Offensive Tackles

Jason Peters

Matched up most against Justin Hollins, Trey Hendrickson, Myles Garrett, Charles Harris, Yannick Ngakoue, Jonathan Garvin, Shaq Barrett, Sampson Ebukam, Alex Highsmith 

Peters was called out of a near retirement just weeks before the season due to issues on the offensive line. With that in mind, he has to be graded on a bit of a curve. Still, many have looked at Peters as the best offensive lineman of the group.

According to PFF, he is responsible for four sacks allowed. They were given up by Garrett, Ngakoue, Hollins, and Ebukam. The names are not on the same tier of pass rusher, but they all have a very similar skill set. Ebukam and Hollins are essentially speed rushers, who cannot even hold up in the run game. Ngakoue consistently wins with an ability to bend the edge, and Garrett is obviously as fast as anyone. Peters has lost consistently against speed and players who can bend lower than he can as they burst around the corner. Smaller players and elite athletes who can get low with speed are going to beat him.

In the run game, he has been excellent, and he did have one of the better games against Hendrickson, who has been excellent this season. Still, there are obvious strengths and weaknesses to his game.

Jason Peters Overall Grade: B- 

Elijah Wilkinson 

Matched up most against Maxx Crosby and Rashan Gary

Wilkinson stepped in at left tackle for an injured Peters week one and then played one snap against Pittsburgh as well. However, his most prominent snaps were at right tackle against Las Vegas and Green Bay. Wilkinson has fans soured on him from back in the preseason, but he held his own against Crosby. Wilkinson did have ups and downs against Gary though. Beyond that, it is fair to say that Wilkinson has been better in the passing game than the run game, where he has struggled. Still, for a backup and a swing tackle, there are worse options.

Elijah Wilkinson Overall Grade: C

Larry Borom

Matched up most against: T.J. Watt and Nick Bosa

Borom made his debut in week one by logging 15 snaps to finish the game. However, the majority of his performances have been at right tackle, where he started the past two games. Borom took on Bosa and Watt which is as tough as you are going to get. It is hard to find many negatives in his games against those two. If the Bears can get this right tackle spot settled down, they could actually have a competent line to end the year.

Larry Borom Overall Grade: A

Germain Ifedi  

Matched up most against Leonard Floyd, Sam Hubbard, Jadeveon Clowney, and Austin Bryant

Germain Ifedi started the first fives games but left the Las Vegas game with an injury. He hit the COVID-19 list during his time on the Injured Reserved, but he is still out right now on the IR. Considering the Bears have Borom now there is not much need for Ifedi other than the depth at both guard and tackle.

He had a poor game against Clowney and was up and down against Floyd in week one. His biggest issue has not been pass protection as much as his impact in the run game. A lot of the issue with Ifedi is the process behind Ryan Pace bringing him back and not about his play. However, they are paying him $5M to start, and a day three rookie is better than him.

Germain Ifedi Overall Grade: D

Alex Bars 

Matched up most against Jason Pierre-Paul

Bars was thrown into the Bucs game to put out a fire that Lachavious Simmons started. Beyond that, he has been an extra tight end, where has been hard to knock him. His play has been fine, but the reality that the team went to Simmons, Ifedi, and Wilkinson over him speaks of how they view him.

Alex Bars Overall Grade: B-

Lachavious Simmons

Matched up most against Jason Pierre-Paul

This one is quick and easy. Once again, it probably is a coaching issue that they sent a player who was not ready to perform into an NFL game. Still, he was eaten alive by Pierre-Paul.

Lachavious Simmons Overall Grade: F

Chicago Bears interior lineman

Cody Whitehair

Matched up most against Aaron Donald, Larry Ogunjobi, Malik McDowell, Michael Brockers, John Hankins, Keke Kinglsey, Kenny Clark and Rakeem Nunez Roches, DJ Jones, Cam Heyward

Whitehair has been really up and down this season. It started off with an awful performance against Aaron Donald, which can be explained. He was up and down against Ogunjobi, and McDowell, though, which brought some questions.

Whitehair bounced back and had his best two games against Las Vegas and Detroit. It may be no surprise that his best two games are two of their three wins. His best two games were met with his worst two games. He struggled with everyone against Green Bay, and Tampa Bay was the same story.

Whitehair was solid overall against San Francisco, and the offense performed, but All-Pro candidate Cam Heyward has his way with Whitehair.

To be fair to Whitehair he saw a lot of Suh and Vea as well against Tampa. So, Donald, Suh, Vea, Hayward, and Clark are some of his worst games, and also some of the best players he has played against.

Still, Whitehair is the definition of average to below-average now. He is good to okay against weaker players and struggles against players better than him. Considering expectations on him from past performances, they need more.

Cody Whitehair Overall Grade: D+

Sam Mustipher

Matched up most against Sebastian Joseph-Day, BJ Hill, Jordan Elliott, Levi Ozurike, and Alim McNeil, Darius Philon, Vita Vea, Isaiah Buggs

When you compare this competition to the tackles, and Whitehair as well, it is not as daunting. This makes sense as the best pass rushers rarely line up right over the ball. So, pass rush is not necessarily the biggest indicator, but in that area, Mustipher has been about average.

His issues have come in other areas, though. He has been a below-average run blocker and lacks the power to hold his ground, and the speed to dig into the second level. Beyond that, snaps have rolled to Justin Fields too often.

Lastly, he has often been caught pointing out the wrong mike, or often needing help with communication. Between Mustipher and a rookie quarterback, it has been noticeable.

There are too many flaws to give Mustipher a pass.

Sam Mustipher Overall Grade: F

James Daniels

Matched up most against Greg Gaines, DJ Reader, Malik Jackson, Nick Williams, Quinton Jefferson, Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark, Ndamukong Suh, Chris Wormley Arik Armstead,

You could argue that aside from Mustipher, this is the next group that is least imposing. Still, James Daniels has also been the best lineman. As a pass protector, he is the best,

He not only has the stats of not giving up sacks, but he also has a good win rate and is not allowing much pressure. Beyond that, his movement in the run game helps get runs into the second level, and he can also pull which helps expand the run game outside of the tackles. Of course, he got called for a questionable penalty against the Steelers for it, but that is an example of the Bears finding success on a play where Daniels gets out on the move.

Next. Goals for Justin Fields to finish 2021. dark

Daniels was trending up in a big way when he got hurt last season and picked up right where he left off. You can poke holes in the others, but Daniels has been a good player in 2021.

James Daniels Overall Grade: A