NFL News & Analysis

Chicago Bears rookie offensive tackle Teven Jenkins to undergo back surgery

Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears Teven Jenkins in action during minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The surge in optimism from Chicago Bears fans stemming from Justin Fields’ electric NFL debut takes a hit with fellow rookie Teven Jenkins battling a significant back injury.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday that Jenkins will undergo back surgery, with the goal being for the second-round Oklahoma State product to “get him back this season.” Nagy added that the team was aware of Jenkins’ back issues in college, but the symptoms he is experiencing now are new.

Shefter added in a reply to his original tweet that Chicago hopes Jenkins can return to the field by November, “but there’s a real chance his season is over.”

Jenkins was PFF’s No. 31 overall player and No. 5 tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft. He earned a 93.6 run-blocking grade playing right tackle last season. While relatively untested in the Big 12, Jenkins only allowed 11 pressures on 623 pass-blocking snaps over the past two seasons.

Chicago signed veteran Jason Peters on Saturday with the expectation that he will compete for a starting nod on the team. The 39-year-old offensive tackle earned a 67.6 PFF grade across 509 offensive snaps with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020, which ranked 47th among tackles with 400-plus snaps that season. He earned an 83.3 mark, including an impressive 86.7 pass-blocking grade, across 936 offensive snaps in 2019.

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Before the Jenkins injury and Peters signing, Chicago’s offensive line ranked 28th in PFF’s 2021 offensive line rankings. And matters have only gotten worse.

The hot start from Fields will be short-lived if the Bears’ front five can’t hold their own up front. He already tends to hold onto the football too long, and that concerning piece of his game will only be magnified behind a porous offensive line. Fields recorded the highest average time to throw of any quarterback in the first week of the preseason (3.76 seconds) and the sixth-highest of any FBS quarterback in 2020 (3.13).

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