Bears offensive lineman James Daniels

USA Today Sports

Bears Comfortable With Changing Of The Guard

October 09, 2018 - 10:23 am
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Coach Matt Nagy and the Bears view their position battle at left guard not as a weakness but a strength. Because of that, a rotation between veteran Eric Kush and rookie James Daniels could continue.

The Bears began to rotate Kush and Daniels during a 48-10 win against the Buccaneers on Sept. 30 in which the offense exploded. That success started up front with quality protection for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who had ample time in the pocket to work through his progressions and make the right throws.

During that afternoon, Kush played 37 snaps while Daniels worked 27, rotating by the series.

"We're in a good spot right now at that position," Nagy said. "Both those guys are playing well. They're playing the way we want them to play and so we're continuing to try and evaluate the starting spot."

The Bears selected Daniels in the second round of the NFL Draft in April, adding a player they hoped could solidify their interior offensive line for the future. Arriving from Iowa, Daniels was praised for his sound technique and considered to be near game-ready, despite being the youngest Bears player at the age of 20.

By the end of training camp, Kush had maintained his starting position through the kind of steady play that offensive line coach Harry Hiestand could trust. While Daniels wasn't far off, the coaching staff indicated he needed work with blitz pickups among other details. He played a role in field goal protection, playing 14 snaps in the first three games.

So when the Bears moved to the rotation with Kush and Daniels, it was an adjustment for both.

"Kush did a great job last week at handling the situation," Nagy said. "He was very positive, helping guys out on the sideline, energetic and about the team, not about himself. That can be a hard position sometimes.

"James was the same way. He came in, he played well. He's going to have room for growth."

Would the Bears prefer to have one starter at left guard instead of a rotation? Perhaps at some point, and one could presume the touted second-round pick would be the man moving into a full-time role. But the Bears don't seem ready for that just yet.

Nagy doesn't see any issues of continuity in the rotation. He credits Hiestand's coaching for putting the Bears in a positive position.

"Right now, the situation that we're in is a good situation, having two guys," Nagy said. "And then we'll just kind of -- whether it's game-by-game, play-by-play, series-by-series -- we'll just kind of feel it out and see where we go."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​