The Chicago Bears goal of the offseason was to improve the offensive line. They did that on paper, but now we are past the preseason, and things are just a little bit more serious now. The team did not get through the preseason without issues, and now they enter week one, needing Braxton Jones to be the piece of stability.
Chicago Bears OT Braxton Jones will be a major catalyst against Green Bay Packers
They already lost Teven Jenkins to the IR. Nate Davis should be good to go, other than a few questions. First, he has hardly practiced since signing in free agency, and this does happen to be a new team. What will make it tougher is that he will be sandwiched between a rookie first-round pick making his first start and a potential unknown at center.
No matter who lines up at center, the first game action that the center, right guard, and right tackle get next to each other will be week one when it matters. This will be a tough matchup for Wright, who not only has never played beside his new right guard but also has to face off with Rashan Gary.
Needless to say, if the Chicago Bears chip or give extra help on the edges, it will now go to the side of Wright. A lot of the time last year, it was Braxton Jones getting that help. Cody Whitehair is moving from center back to left guard, and Lucas Patrick may finally get to start at center after that being the plan as long as a year ago.
Whitehair has played left guard, but after spending the offseason working at center, it is easy to say that the fifth-rounder, who is entering his second season and was up and down as a rookie, is now the stable factor in the offensive line.
It is not like his day will be easy, either. Gary will often take on the right tackle, but he will give his share to Jones. Braxton Jones will also have to fend off Preston Smith, an experienced pass rusher who had a couple of hurries against Jones last season. Jones will also see spurts of rookie first-round pick Lukas Van Ness.
If Braxton Jones is a question mark and cannot handle Smith and Van Ness, the rest of the line is going to be in a bad spot. If Jones can at least hold down his side, the Chicago Bears can shift attention elsewhere and make the line work. A steady left tackle goes a long way, and we are about to find out if Braxton Jones can be that.