(670 The Score) Don't worry, Bears fans found something to be mad about from the team's dominant 26-point win against the Giants on Sunday. Mere moments after the Bears scored 29 points *and* won a game, all on the same afternoon, fans and members of the media alike voiced their issues with the team's choice to start veteran Jason Peters over rookie Teven Jenkins at left tackle.
Both were relatively healthy heading into Week 17, though Peters was just recently activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and Jenkins spent the week working through a shoulder injury that he suffered against the Seahawks a week prior. Talking after the win, Bears coach Matt Nagy explained why Peters got the call ahead of Jenkins on a day the team improved to 6-10.
"Well, again, a few things: all these guys, whether they're coming off an injury, coming back from an injury, you start on the left side with Jason," Nagy said. "Jason's been our starter this entire year. This is a Hall of Fame player that's been playing a long time. And he battled his ass off to get back here and play. He did a great job when we weren't sure how that was gonna go. Teven, same thing, working through an injury from last week's game. And so that's the decision that we made and it's been. Like I said from the beginning, we're gonna do everything we need to do, what's best for this team right now."
The Peters-Jenkins dynamic has been an interesting narrative since the latter returned from injured reserve in November. Peters has played objectively well -- he has allowed five sacks and 24 pressures over 442 pass-blocking sets, according to Pro Football Focus' numbers. His overall offensive grade (76.3) is his second-best since 2017 and currently ranks him 24th out of 84 tackles. Still, Jenkins is the team's presumed future franchise left tackle, and there's certainly an argument to be made that those are the type of players who should be getting more snaps in pointless late-season games. For what it's worth, Jenkins did eventually sub in for Peters late in the second half. Afterward, Nagy talked a bit about how he likens the situation to what's happening with Germain Ifedi and Larry Borom on the other side of the line.
"That's what we did," Nagy said. "In regards to Larry and Ifedi, I go back to, with Larry coming off of COVID a few weeks ago and trying to get back into shape, we weren't sure where he was going to be last week. He was forced into action early. And we thought he did a good job. So we go into this week thinking, again, he played well when he was in. We went with him for this week. The guys have handled it great. The communication's been great. I appreciate that from them. And again, we were able to get Teven in in the fourth quarter there too. We're trying to kinda balance that, but at the same point in time, work that dynamic with all those guys."
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.