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Bears Guard Was in Offensive Line Limbo

Teven Jenkins was active officially but inactive in reality because of his own decision, so he watched Michael Schofield play.

The Bears struggled on the offensive line and had right guard Teven Jenkins available for Sunday's 27-24 loss to Atlanta.

They just didn't have him quite that available. 

So Jenkins didn't play, and it seemed to run contrary to what the Bears have said about injuries throughout the season.

So Michael Schofield started at right guard as Jenkins was still getting over a hip injury, but didn't quite feel well enough to start the game. Jenkins didn't play despite being active.

"So we worked with Teven, you know," Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. "So Teven before the game said that, 'I'm still a little bit hurt, right, but I'm able to be there as a backup, you know, if needed in an emergency.'"

It seemed a rather strange status for a player when the Bears coach has said in the past that if a player is able to suit up, then he's healthy enough to play.

A week earlier, Jaylon Johnson was allowed to play and was burned in coverage for a key 44-yard completion but later said he was playing injured. 

So perhaps they're listening a bit closer to what players are saying now.

In the past, Jenkins had rotated at right guard while learning the position. They could have also tried this again to determine how well he actually felt.

"So that's where he was today," Eberflus said. "That's why he didn't rotate. If he was a little bit better, you know we would have rotated him in there.

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"But he wasn't at that point."

But he was at a healthy enough point to be active and to back up? And if there had been an injury ahead of him, he would have suddenly been healthy enough to play?

Bears blocking struggled through much of the game. They allowed four sacks to a team that came into the game with only 13 on the season. Schofield struggled, in particular, against twist-stunts by the defensive front.

The guards, in particular, had trouble blocking Falcons season sacks leader Grady Jarrett on running or passing plays. Arnold Ebiketie, Lorenzo Carter and Troy Andersen had sacks besides Jarrett.

Schofield was graded at 58.4 for pass blocking by Pro Football Focus, the second-worst mark on the day. Sam Mustipher was the only one with a worse mark at 52.9. In true pass-blocking sets, Schofield graded the worst of all the linemen at 40.9. Mustipher actually had the highest grade of pass blockers in true pass-blocking sets (81.0).

Schofield's run-blocking mark of 64.6 was second highest, behind only Riley Reiff (66.2) according to the analytics website.

It all makes one wonder what the Bears would do if Justin Fields came to them and said his shoulder felt good enough to be backup next week, but not start. 

Would he be active or left inactive?

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