Injury Becoming Routine for Bears O-Line

The left tackle injury situation has plagued the Bears since the start of OTAs and last week's injuries to Jason Peters and Larry Borom make for a familiar setting as Elijah Wilkinson must fit in on the opposite side until the others heal.
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The Bears offensive line has to feel like it can hold up to just about anything at this point.

In the season opener on the road, against Aaron Donald and the best defense in the league last year, they lost two more left tackles to injuries when Jason Peters suffered a quad injury and backup Larry Borom an ankle injury.

The line kept on blocking with Elijah Wilkinson in on the left side and did enough to get David Montgomery 108 yards rushing, most allowed by the Rams to a back since December of 2019.

"I mean that's tough but the guys stepped up," center Sam Mustipher said. "Larry did a great job of stepping in when JP went down and then when Larry went down Elijah did a great job stepping up.

BEARS OPEN AS FAVORITES OVER CINCINNATI

"You know, I felt like the communication was there. And in an environment where it was pretty loud it's definitely critical as an offensive line to have everybody seeing things on the same page and through one set of eyes. So it was great to be out there with those guys and everybody doing their job."

They may need to do this again this week against Cincinnati at Soldier Field, but will know more about the injuries' severity after Wednesday's practice.

Mustipher realizes they need continuity on the line to build a cohesive group of blockers, and it's hardly conducive to this to constantly switch left tackles.

"Offensive line is a unique position in that all five guys have got to be on the same page," Mustipher said. "So the more reps that we can get, the more we can talk through things, work through things, look at film together and understand that these are the type of things that we're going to see."

If they need to go to Wilkinson, at least they know it's something he's been doing.

Actually, the positive side for the Bears of all the left tackle injuries they've had is they have played so many different people at the position that whoever they must decide to play against the Bengals will be familiar with the other players on the line and the situation.

Wilkinson is a right tackle by trade but was playing left tackle in organized team activities during the spring, then went to the position when rookie Teven Jenkins suffered a back injury and backup Larry Borom a concussion in training camp.

Then they signed 39-year-old Peters and if they couldn't throw NFL starting-quality talent at the position at least they had a lot of different options and all are now familiar with the assignment.

"Obviously, continuity is big on the offensive line but we obviously know injuries and stuff like that happen too," guard Cody Whitehair said. "Especially with the pandemic and stuff, you just have to expect the unexpected."

The unexpected in this season seems to be expected now, and that's injuries at left tackle.

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