Chicago Bears: Cody Whitehair and the sophomore slump

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Cody Whitehair isn’t playing like his rookie self. Is it something to be worried about, or is it just a slump?

The Chicago Bears had a lot of rookie contribution last year. Five players from the Bears 2016 rookie class played significant minutes, and they’re doing the same this year: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Jonathan Bullard, Nick Kwiatkoski and Jordan Howard.

Unfortunately, one of the major players isn’t playing as well or better this time around. That would be Whitehair.

A second-round pick out of Kansas, he was named starting center Week 1 last year due to a number of injuries, even though he had never played the ever-vital position before.

After just a few weeks, he was praised for his abilities, impressive versatility, and durability. He started all 16 games, and only missed two snaps.

While his durability hasn’t debilitated, starting every game and only missing snaps in one, there’s been a number of other problems.

More from Da Windy City

Is Whitehair experiencing a “sophomore slump”? There is more than enough evidence to prove its possible. There could also be a bevy of causes.

Some reasons are scheme change, position change and nagging injuries. Not every above-average rookie season is followed by a stellar sophomore season.

He’s missed blocks, been burned on one-on-ones, had bad snaps from under center and wide/high snaps in shotgun. While there’s some cause for concern, there’s much more good than bad.

Even while moving along the line, Jordan Howard is on pace for more than 1,200 yards, and he’s a between-the-tackles runner.

Next: Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions preview

Compared to last year, there has been a drop-off. However, should Kyle Long or Josh Sitton miss any time, he shouldn’t be pulled from his center spot if at all possible. Hopefully, instead of putting Hroniss Grasu at center, the Chicago Bears can move Tom Compton to a guard spot and leave Whitehair where he’s most comfortable.

If his struggles continue into next year and beyond, we’d be looking at one-year-wonder territory, but I’m encouraged he could up his game as soon as late this season.