Ellis: Teven Jenkins is owed a few apologies, and here's mine

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(670 The Score) For a second there, I really thought people weren’t going to get hyped for Bears season. I spent an entire summer thinking that this season was going to come and go, six wins and all, entirely glazed in apathy. In hindsight, it was probably the most ignorant season prediction I could've made, but in my defense, the Bears have like 15 nooners this season – my position wasn’t exactly going out on a limb.

Then Justin Fields smoked the Browns, and friends, the Bears are BACK. Waking up to four dozen tweet thread breakdowns of Fields' drop-back rhythm was the most clear sign that we're all barreling, full-throttle, toward entirely-unrealistic-but-equally-exciting expectations. The Bears are back after all. And while most of that comes from Fields’ apparent development, I’m here to make yet another contrarian argument: Teven Jenkins’ success is just as encouraging. Maybe more? Fine, just as.

This isn’t going to be a breakdown of Jenkins’ tape, because I actually don't know the intricacies of offensive line performances well enough for that. I could vaguely talk about Jenkins' strong hands and how he’s a mauler and his burst off the line, but there’s lots of that out there already and if we’re being honest with one another, has anyone ever expected film breakdowns from these columns? Why provide insight when you have so many pithy banalities at your disposal?! What this serves as is an apology, because I was super wrong about Jenkins' outlook.

Jenkins and his determination deserve their moment in the sun, even if that sun happens to be shining on another city he gets traded to. But the notion that people are actively dreading the idea of trading away Jenkins right now is, if you’ll allow me to be dramatic for a moment, pretty astonishing. In late July, he was an often-hurt offensive lineman with no real position who was missing bunches of practice time for reasons that were as dubious as they were vague. He was the latest example of former general manager Ryan Pace’s terrible habit of taking terrible players in the early rounds of the draft –and his impending trade to the Falcons was planned out every which way. Then, in what surely was always the plan and definitely not an emergency contingency plan, Jenkins found himself playing right guard. And he’s looked good? (Maybe Pace should come back as a senior advisor after all?!?) I’ve seen people I trust on the matter – which is to say, Kyle Long – talk at length about how difficult switching inside actually can be, which makes Jenkins’ somewhat-on-the-fly adjustment even more impressive. How convenient that the Bears’ starting right guard was on the roster the whole time! Teams love it when that happens!

Overall, the tape – which, you should know, I watch – hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence that Jenkins playing guard is going to change a whole lot. At some point this season, that familiar sense of dread and fear for Fields’ time in the pocket and general health will probably return, even with Jenkins and his strong hands and quick burst mauling people. But that’s beside the point for now – right now, in these two weeks in which the Bears are back and we’ll all be young forever, is the time for commending Jenkins for a hearty dose of resiliency and the ability to turn a bad situation on its head. If that ends up being a microcosm for this Bears roster, all the better. If it just ends up being a good story on a bad team, then we’ll all just end up still being right about them. That’s what we call a win-win in the biz.

So I’m sorry, Teven Jenkins. By all accounts (except for maybe a few NFL insiders), you’re the Chicago Bears’ starting right guard. I, for one, certainly didn't expect you to be a starter ... or a right guard ... or on the Chicago Bears. There isn’t a reason on earth that you should care what I think, but if you just happen to be on your daily peruse of 670’s written content (download the Audacy app to livestream your favorite shows today!) and wanted to know what the least notable member of their coverage team thinks about the first two years of your dream career as a professional football player, now you do. Here’s to hoping you have an easier time blocking Nick Bosa in Week 1 than I did ending this piece coherently.

Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.

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