As the Chicago Bears season has started to fall apart, the calls for Alex Leatherwood have gotten louder and louder. They are not really playing for much, and Leatherwood is still in his second NFL season. There is hope for what he can do, but he needs playing time.
While things are not official yet, the team is looking like they are going to need Leatherwood to start on Sunday. Larry Borom and Riley Reiff are on the injury report with a knee and back respectively.
Early in the week, Eberflus mentioned Leatherwood unprompted when discussing the plans at right tackle. After both tackles missed practice, he was asked about Leatherwood again.
There is a combination of the injuries and the reality that somehow the third-string tackle may end up being the best option. There is still plenty of upsides, and beyond the lack of talent, the coaching staff has gotten their players to work hard. Perhaps a light came on for Leatherwood a month or two ago, and we see the first-round pedigree.
If he does play well, the team has a bye week to throw him in as the full-time starter. Then he can finish the final month of the season with the rest of the starters. If the team could end up with Teven Jenkins and Alex Leatherwood as the right side of their line, and they feel good about that, it would be a huge win.
The Thursday practice will be big for the status of Reiff and Borom. We have seen in the past that even when a player comes back to practice, if he only goes on Friday, and did not get much work in, he probably will be inactive. This group leans hard towards sitting guys the extra week.
Beyond that, why push either? Borom and Reiff will probably be fighting to get healthy because they know that they could lose their spot and neither may ever start again. Still, while it will be good to know that the players are working hard to get back, the coaches can be smart and give them the extra week, knowing that there is intrigue in Leatherwood anyways.
Most thought he would move to guard after struggles when playing right tackle last season. However, sometimes you have to roll with the punches, and this should have Leatherwood having a shot at redemption starting for the Chicago Bears.