Teven Jenkins isn’t off to the best start in Chicago Bears practices. After lining up as the starting right tackle throughout most of May, he was demoted to the second-team offense during veteran minicamps. It was the first red flag that something might be wrong. He isn’t showing the coaching staff what they want to see. That is why they opted to shift Larry Borom to right tackle and elevate rookie Braxton Jones to left tackle.
Jenkins knew coming into this offseason that he had a lot of work to do. His rookie year provided several harsh lessons on how much learning was needed before he could go toe to toe with the best edge defenders in the league. He spoke with six-time Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz and former Bears fullback Jason McKie on their No Name Football Podcast. He described the moment he realized he wasn’t in college anymore. He was playing with the big boys.
“Preston Smith was the first game I got back in after JP (Jason Peters) went down, unfortunately. What happened is he did a little shoulder fake, came in with a long arm, and I felt how strong (he was). Different from what I’m used to. And I had to go back into the weight room and really start getting into my core because I could feel the lack of core when you sit down and anchor. When he did that bullrush, it was all upper body. So I knew I can’t not focus on my core because that would help me maintain those blocks and be more stout up front.”
Teven Jenkins knew he had to learn the craft fast.
As the Bears shifted to a new offensive system under Luke Getsy, the best thing for him to do was find tackles that have thrived in similar versions of it. That didn’t take too long. The wide-zone offense has helped plenty of tackles play great football, but one name has stood far above the rest.
“One dude I had to start watching and paying attention to was Trent Williams. He’s top-notch right now. One of the best tackles in the NFL. He’s in his own world right now. I started watching some of his tape and everything.”
Williams has played nine seasons in that style of offense during his career. He’s made the Pro Bowl in seven of those seasons. His size, power, and athleticism have been a constant nightmare for defensive linemen. While Teven Jenkins isn’t quite as freaky, he has enough attributes to thrive if he learns how to play correctly. If you’re going to model your game after anybody, you can do way worse than Williams. One only hopes the young tackle figures it out fast.
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