Ryan Poles and Ian Cunningham fixed the Chicago Bears’ offensive line in one off-season

The Chicago Bears had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, but the evidence now says the Bears have a far better unit than a few months ago.

There’s little doubt that fans and analysts of the Chicago Bears have little patience in the Bears fixing their offensive line problems.

However, the Bears are moving in the correct direction with the players they have added to the roster, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are subtle signs that the Bears will be a lot better off this year than they were last year, on the offensive line.

New GM Ryan Poles came from the Kansas City Chiefs and his assistant GM Ian Cunningham came from the Philadelphia Eagles and they wasted no time in bringing in young talent along the offensive line by making trades and adding more picks.  Both the Eagles and the Chiefs have two of the top offensive lines in the NFL heading into the 2022 season.  

The Eagles Back up O-Line is better than half the NFL teams starting O-Line. #Eagles #FlyEaglesfly

Why is the Bears’ offensive line already better than it was the day after the NFL Draft? Cunningham and Poles added quality depth in the draft.  Three players are/were already performing above expectations in training camp.  Fifth-round draft pick Braxton Jones has the starting left tackle position locked up and is likely going to turn into the long-term starter.  To find your starting left tackle in the fifth round is a rare gem. Most left tackles are found within the first round of the NFL Draft but Poles may have found one of the top steals of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Seventh-round draft pick Ja’Tyre Carter has been primarily running with the second team at right guard and earning the praise of radio analyst and former Bears right guard Tom Thayer. Carter is in a position to make the 53-man roster as a seventh-round pick. Doug Kramer before his unfortunate injury was running with the second team at center in place of Sam Mustipher who was getting the primary reps at right guard.

Three players on the offensive line who already came in and made waves in their first year on the roster.  That’s an important overall development in the health of the Bears’ offensive line.  While it may not seem like much, it’s clear that if the Bears have three guys who could be key cogs in the offensive line over the next few years.

The evidence is there that what the Chiefs and the Eagles put together building up their offensive lines happened under the guidance of the two men who are now in charge of the Bears.  The evidence is also strong that there has been an immediate impact by Poles and Cunningham on the 2022 Chicago Bears’ offensive line.

Consider the health and depth of the overall offensive line, compared to a year ago.  Jones solidifies the left tackle spot, Riley Reiff and Larry Borom are fighting for the starting right tackle/primary backup to both offensive tackle spots.  Both Reiff and Borom have played both left tackle and right tackle with Reiff the veteran who has secured the spot but has also forced Borom to elevate his game in their training camp competition.  Reiff has primarily played left tackle, but a switch to right tackle may resurrect his career to the point that it elevates the Bears’ offensive line.

Teven Jenkins can play both guard and tackle and is competing with Michael Schofield for the guard/back offensive tackle spot on the roster.  Schofield is a starter-level player who could be relegated to a solid backup spot with Jenkins’ emergence.

So, the Bears have young talent in Jenkins, Borom, Jones, Carter, and Kramer that could theoretically all have the potential to start together in the not-too-distant future.  While three of the four may not have to start because of the veterans added to the mix, or if they do start are pushed by veterans who have started who have forced them to get better.

The Chicago Bears offensive line is better than it was a year ago and is also in good hands for the future.  Primarily because the two men piecing it together have a track record of success that has already led to a major difference in one off-season.

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