Braxton Jones is one of the coolest stories of the summer for the Chicago Bears. Here’s a kid who went from tiny Southern Utah and a season of 1-10 to the 5th round. He works his tail off in the spring and gets promoted to starting left tackle in OTAs. People think it’s only temporary. The Bears coaches are just experimenting. Two months later, Jones still hasn’t given up the job. This team is serious. They’re ready to put a rookie on Justin Fields’ blindside.
Many in the media cannot understand what they are thinking. Jones may have talent, but he is so inexperienced against top leagues. The Bears are going to knock him out on opening day against Nick Bosa, who had 15.5 sacks last season. You can only imagine what Fields himself thinks about this. He took a beating last year for inconsistent blocking. Bosa fired him twice the last time the San Francisco 49ers visited Soldier Field.
It could be so much worse this time.
Only Fields doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. During his last press conference, he was asked about Jones. The quarterback said he would be honest with the rookie when he lost replays on Sunday. No yelling or insults. A simple statement to do better on the next game. Fields then turned it back to the media for having rather unfair expectations, as if Jones would lose some reps against a two-time Pro Bowler if Bosa made him a failure.
This is another reminder that Fields is smarter than people think. What he says is true and comes across as a leader who stands behind his teammate. It’s not hard to see why the Bears chose him as captain. Jones has said several times that he is ready for war to keep Fields afloat. He takes every rep he loses personally.
Justin Fields knows Jones is well prepared.
Yes, the rookie is not experienced, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t ready. He was quick to remind the media that he spent the entire training camp with Robert Quinn. The Pro Bowler has more than 100 sacks in his career, including 18 last season. If anyone can teach a rookie what to expect from someone like Bosa, it’s Quinn. Based on his preseason outings, Jones doesn’t look out of place. He handled his business well against Frank Clark and allowed no pressure in Seattle.
Bosa is going to get his. Superstar players do that. It’s not Jones’ job to stop the 49ers’ defense. It’s to slow him down enough so that he doesn’t ruin the game. That’s all Justin Fields wants from the rookie tackle. If he accomplishes that task, it should be considered a big win for the Bears.
It is also important to remember another factor.
Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy isn’t going to hang him to dry. Bad coaches don’t help rookies against star players. Expect the Bears to play several plays with Jones either blocking in motion or getting help from tight ends or chipping running backs. The bears will do much to slow down Bosa. It will be a team effort.
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