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billwade
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Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Did the Chicago Bears find their starting center?

There is not too much to get excited about with the Chicago Bears over the past six weeks. However, after their bye week, it is worth noting that some changes came on the offensive line. While the Bears have not turned the changes into wins, the offensive line has played better in the past two weeks than it has all season.

David Montgomery had his two highest yards before contact totals in the past two weeks. Beyond that, the last two games were the least often Mitch Trubisky has been under pressure, going all the way back to the Bucs game in 2018 and the Cowboys in 2019.

While the progress does not come back to just one player, the past two games have been impressive for starting center Sam Mustipher. Mustipher was thrown into the fire against Aaron Donald and got injured against the Saints the next week.

However, in the past two weeks, Mustipher has shown that he may be capable of starting at center In the NFL. To start, he has not had a single snap issue, something Cody Whitehair has been famous for. Moreso, he has not allowed a single pressure.

The quickness to get off of the ball, the power to hold his man, and the fluidity to turn his hips and create the seal are all impressive features from the one play above. Mustipher has not been a road grader in the ground game, but has been proficient and had his highest-graded game on the ground, per PFF.

The Chicago Bears have four games to go, but those are starting to appear to be big games for Mustipher. If Mustipher can play the last four games as well as he has the first two, the Bears are going to enter the offseason with a question as to whether or not they have themselves a starting center. Given all of the other needs on the roster, being able to cross one off of the board would go a long way.

https://beargoggleson.com/2020/12/08/sam-mustipher-continues-provide-chicago-bears-bright-spots/

 

billwade
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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This is a much bigger deal than it might first appear. If the Bears are locked down from guard to guard in 2021, then it makes fixing the line much easier. Leno might be a short term solution at RT, which would mean the Bears would only need a legit LT to solidify the line. The only caveat is they haven't played any good defenses since Mustipher moved into the starting lineup at center. GB is ranked 11th, Detorit is 28th and Houston is 30th. We need to see how he plays against top ten talent.

When you bleed, make it orange and navy blue

Sluggobear
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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I wonder how many more players would blossom if given the chance to play and obtain experience.

billwade
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Sluggobear wrote:

I wonder how many more players would blossom if given the chance to play and obtain experience.

Your point is something I've wondered and never understood for a long time. If a player is horribly under performing, what have you got to lose by giving the backup a shot? With the Bears o-line, I'd be brining in guys off the street. I mean, how much worse could they be? And tell me this, who is evaluating this talent? It does not take a football expert to see that Mustipher, Whitehead, Barr is better than Whitehead, Coward, Ifedi. Why did it take the Bears 12 weeks to figure that out?

When you bleed, make it orange and navy blue

Corn Cob
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I really don't want to see Leno on the right side of the line....his time has come to just hit the street. Can you imagine how poor he would look trying to fight off his memorized natural tendencies, having to reverse his stance and everything else he's done since his contract re-signing?  I don't think it would be a pretty sight!

 

Matt Nagy: "I know we need to run the ball more. I'm not an idiot."

Sluggobear
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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I thought the Bears tried Leno on the right side when he was drafted, and he failed miserably in the preseason, and had to be switched to the inside and finally LOT. Leno was not strong enough at the point of attack. I have never been a fan of Leno, and it was a mistake to resign him to his current extension. Thank you Pace for another mess.

billwade
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Corn Cob wrote:

I really don't want to see Leno on the right side of the line....his time has come to just hit the street. Can you imagine how poor he would look trying to fight off his memorized natural tendencies, having to reverse his stance and everything else he's done since his contract re-signing?  I don't think it would be a pretty sight!

 

I don't disagree with you, but the very painful reality is that over the past several seasons, he's been the Bears best tackle. If they use the first round pick to take a LT (which they should but probably won't) then that still leaves RT. Good tackles are almost impossible to find in FA because every team that has one locks them up. If they are on the market, they're either deficient or really expensive. I wouldn't be opposed to using the second round pick on a RT, but if that doesn't happen, or they take a QB in the first round, then Leno may be the best option. I know, that sucks.

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Grizzled
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Daniels-Mustipher-Whitehair or Daniels-Mustipher-Barr on the interior next year. If Whitehair plays RG, could Barr slip to RT? Definitely looking better than it was a few weeks ago.

Calbrooks
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I think next year it is clear that it will be Daniels - Mustipher - Whitehair on the interior. That leaves the tackles. Leno has gone back to average after having a pretty solid 2019. Super frustrating. Massie is all but done and has to be replaced. So as far as tackles, we need at least one upgrade. If there is a LT to be had that is a sure thing, get him. If not but there is a RT there, same thing. Obviously if we can upgrade both the right and left that would be great, but I think they line could do well with Leno or Barr, just not both. Let's make sure that at least one side is bullet proof.

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

Calbrooks
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Over the course of the 2020 season, Cody Whitehair was playing some of the worst football of his career. There were questionable players beside him, and he was dealing with a calf injury himself. Still, in his five-year career, he was not playing worse than he had been over the few weeks leading up to the Chicago Bears bye week.

That all changed after the bye. One could argue that Whitehair got healthier. It also may have had to do with moving from center to guard. Whitehair was always good at center, but has always been better at guard. After struggling in the Packers game, the past three weeks have been his best three weeks of his 2020 season.

He has not allowed a single pressure and the games against the Lions and Texas were some of the best in his career, let alone 2020.

Whitehair struggled with Jaeel Johnson at times in their most recent game, but it did not take away from what turned into a dominant performance. Take a look at the play below, which encapsulates the progression we have seen from Whitehair in the previous three weeks.

As we have noted with Mitch Trubisky and the team in general, it has to be added that the level of competition is not sky-high. However, while we have not seen Trubisky play at an All-Pro level at any point, we do know that Whitehair has that type of ceiling in that right spot.

All of a sudden Sam Mustipher is becoming a trusted and center and James Daniels will come back and add to Alex Bars to create a strong interior. The reality is that Whitehair is going to have to stay at guard moving forward.

It is clear that it brings out the best in Whitehair and while Whitehair can play center, it takes away from getting him firing off of the football, and is not for the best.

The interesting piece will be how James Daniels fits coming off of injury, struggling at center, and only playing left guard so far, the same spot Whitehair is excelling at. Still, nothing going forward should prevent the Bears from keeping Whitehair at guard.

https://beargoggleson.com/2020/11/25/chicago-bears-2020-holiday-gift-guide/

Somewhat related. Seems to point out the same points we all have seen.

 

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

BamaBear09
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Re: Sam Mustipher continues to provide Chicago Bears bright spots
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Grizzled wrote:

Daniels-Mustipher-Whitehair or Daniels-Mustipher-Barr on the interior next year. If Whitehair plays RG, could Barr slip to RT? Definitely looking better than it was a few weeks ago.

Whitehair was one of the best OT in college football his senior year, why not try kicking him out to RT and seeing if he can overcome his shorter arms... He's got the feet to move block on the edge...Both him and Bars have very short arms and thats why they were projected as interior Oline... maybe try Daniels at RT, he has 33+ inch arms and he might be able to make the transition.. although putting him on that island might expose his issues with strength and bullrushes... but they definitely have some major hope at the interior... now we need to track down quality tackles... I also would be interested in seeing Foles behind this revamped line...

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