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Short Column: For Pace, Teven Jenkins Could Hold Key to His Future in Chicago

| December 2nd, 2021


The jury is out on Justin Fields, and will remain out for the next season or so. But the Bears, and more specifically the folks who own the Bears, have been wildly impressed with the young signal caller – on and off the field – and believe the organization may have finally solved it’s most definitive, idiosyncratic dilemma. Said an individual close to ownership, “They know the situation is not ideal but he’s handling it with class.”

The debate currently raging (possibly too strong a word, but emotions are high) through the Halls of Halas is whether the acquisition of said signal caller is enough to warrant keeping the personnel man responsible for that acquisition in his job. As Ryan Pace prepares to make his case to the McCaskey family, a key piece of the argument currently resides on IR: Teven Jenkins.

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After Sunday, the Bears have five games remaining. If Jenkins can get back on the field in 2021, even for the final 2-3 games, and show glimpses of premier left tackle play, Pace can argue his 2021 draft as potentially organization defining. (Few teams come out of a single draft with franchise players at both quarterback and left tackle.) Pace has made plenty of mistakes – Mitch and Matt predominantly – but the Bears believe in his leadership and also believe he’s improving in the job. Jenkins performing at a high level might give ownership that confidence that he’s capable of the next major task: building around Justin Fields.

The merits of that confidence would be, let’s just say, debatable. But as the head coach’s fate has become clear in recent weeks, the focus of ownership has shifted almost entirely to evaluating their GM. Jenkins playing, and playing well, could alter that evaluation.

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