Winners and losers following the Bears’ offseason program – Chicago Bears Wire

Winners and losers following the Bears’ offseason program – Chicago Bears Wire

The latest wave of the Chicago Bears offseason has come and gone as voluntary and mandatory workouts are now complete, leaving us with one final extended break before training camp officially begins.

These late spring workouts don’t reveal a ton of information as players aren’t practicing in pads and just a few practices are even mandatory. But based on playing time, highlights in practice, and possible injury news, it’s not too difficult to determine who came out a winner during this portion of the offseason and who didn’t.

Here are our winners and losers following the Bears’ latest string of workouts.

Winner: QB Justin Fields

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Although quarterback Justin Fields wasn’t perfect during the Bears’ practices, he’s been getting countless opportunities to make plays to his receivers and running backs. Literally. Fields has been taking the bulk of the snaps at practice, a stark difference from a year ago where he had to settle in with veterans Andy Dalton and Nick Foles.

Now with backups Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman, it’s Fields’ show now and the coaches are giving him as many reps as he can handle. Whether or not Fields throws touchdowns or interceptions at this point in the offseason is irrelevant. What’s important is that he’s getting those reps in the first place in a new offense.

Loser: HC Matt Eberflus

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Matt Eberflus getting placed in this category has nothing to do with his coaching or lineups that he’s putting out. It has to do with the situation involving defensive end Robert Quinn. The newest franchise leader in single-season sacks has been, not surprisingly, away during voluntary workouts. But he took it a step further when he didn’t show up for mandatory minicamp, leaving Eberflus frustrated with the pass rusher’s absence as he likely looks for a trade out of Chicago.

Eberflus is working to establish a new culture on the team and get players to buy into what he’s doing. Quinn sees the writing on the wall that this year’s Bears are going to be rebuilding and is sending a clear message that he wants out. It makes sense for all parties involved, but as a head coach, it has to be tough when one of your best players is staying away and you have to answer for it. Eberflus is coaching to win and that’s harder to do when someone who had 18.5 sacks last season doesn’t want to play. This situation most likely will be rectified by the time camp gets underway, but for now, it’s a distraction that Eberflus doesn’t need.

Winner: S Jaquan Brisker

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

If these offseason activities are any indication, rookie safety Jaquan Brisker could be in for a hot start to his NFL career. Brisker was making plays in the secondary in many of the practices. He was snagging interceptions and breaking up passes with ease. Both coaches and media members in attendance were raving about Brisker’s performance and he might take it up a notch when the pads come on in late July.

Though depth charts won’t be officially set until camp, Brisker has been running with the starters the entire time. It’s safe to say he’s on the fast track to starting in Week 1. It’s probably even safe to say he’s going to make an immediate impact as well.

Loser: CB Kyler Gordon

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

While one of the Bears’ second-round draft picks is making waves, the other hasn’t been on the field recently. Cornerback Kyler Gordon missed all of mandatory minicamp this past week, likely due to an injury. While nothing was officially revealed, Gordon was seen riding a stationary bike off on the sidelines at times during practice.

At this point in the offseason, any minor injury to Gordon is of little concern. The most important thing is that he’s healthy going into training camp. But still, missing all of minicamp as a rookie isn’t exactly great news.

Winner: OT Braxton Jones

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bears selected four offensive linemen on the final day of the 2022 NFL draft, it stood to reason at least one player would emerge from the group as a potential starter. It seems that might already be happening with tackle Braxton Jones.

The fifth-round pick from Southern Utah has been turning heads in practice with his long frame and played with the starters for some of the organized activities and all of minicamp. The coaching staff is excited about Jones’ prospects as a pro and while there isn’t any live hitting going on yet, it’s a positive development for the rookie heading into training camp.

Loser: OT Teven Jenkins

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Jones’ ascent means the potential fall of Teven Jenkins. Last year as a rookie, Jenkins was working to become the team’s franchise left tackle before a back injury sidelined him for most of the season. Now, under a new regime, Jenkins has moved to his more natural position at right tackle, but he could be losing favor with the coaching staff.

When Jones moved to starting left tackle during practice, he replaced Larry Borom, who had been working at that position for much of the offseason. Borom then moved to right tackle with the starters, regulating Jenkins to second string. Eberflus mentioned the team was simply looking at various combinations, but Jones and Borom have played in those same spots for multiple practices in a row, leaving Jenkins as a backup.

When the pads come on later this summer, we may have a different story and Jenkins could wind up with the starters again. But at this point, his lack of starting reps is concerning for someone who was held in such high regard just one year ago.

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