Bears coach Matt Nagy pulled out the mathematical elimination card when pressed Monday about why rookie tackle Teven Jenkins remains on the bench after being activated.
For insurance, he had a pair of aces up his sleeve in the form of offensive line coach Juan Castillo, and veteran tackle Jason Peters.
Playing rookies simply for the sake of experience now doesn't suit the team, Nagy said, so Jenkins did not play Sunday even though he dressed.
"Our guys right now are focused on the win but also understanding there's a lot of things that can happen in the next five games," Nagy said. "We control that. The other part of that, the 'what-if' down the road, what can happen in your job and if you are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, that's all down-the-road stuff. That's not where we are at, simply put.
"We are just not there, that's not our mindset. It's hard to go to that point because that's just not how we think."
Nagy remains in the now but has admitted to curiosity over Jenkins. He's just more curious about how many more wins they can get or how far they can elevate the offense in league rankings.
"I understand the want because he's a high draft pick," Nagy said. "It's just like Justin (Fields) too, right? High draft pick and you want to see him play."
Castillo points to the season 39-year-old Jason Peters is experiencing at left tackle as a reason why Jenkins isn't moving immediately into the lineup. He was impressed with Peters' effort against Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones.
"Well, you know, Jason is getting better every week," Castillo said. "Everybody is seeing that he still has something left.
"I think yesterday might have been one of his better games he played against (Jones) and shut down (Jones) pretty good, and that’s a good football player."
Pro Football Focus currently rates Peters the 22nd best offensive tackle this season out of 82 graded, from both sides of the line. Peters has played almost every snap after the first game, when he suffered a quad injury. He missed a few snaps against Pittsburgh but finished the game.
There is always the argument Jenkins needs some developmental time before his second season.
"The thing about it is, to me is, he's getting a lot of experience just in the practice and watching Jason Peters, who's probably going to be a first-ballot hall-of-fame guy," Castillo said. "So to me, he’s getting a lot of knowledge just from being able to watch and work and things like that. "
Backup tackle Elijah Wilkinson is still in the reserve/COVID-19 protocol so Jenkins could play if Peters had to leave a game. What happens when Wilkinson comes back isn't clear.
Castillo made it sound as if the Bears are concerned a bit physically and skill-wise about Jenkins.
"Well, you know, I think right now what we're doing is right now we're trying to work him and get him ready," Castillo said. "In an emergency thing, if something happened to Jason, right now he would be the one that would come in.
"So we're trying to catch him up. He hasn't done a lot of football. We're working hard trying to get him ready in case something like that happens."