Chicago Bears offensive line scenario 1 (left to right): Peters-Daniels-Mustipher-Whitehair-Ifedi.
For all those who heard Matt Nagy say that Jason Peters is coming in to “compete” at left tackle, let me clear something up: Jason Peters is not coming into Chicago to compete. He is coming in to start. He has familiarity within the system and already has the trust of the coaching staff with who he has prior experience.
For everyone who wants to throw Jason Peters’ age around and say he doesn’t have it anymore, I would like to remind you of two key metrics:
- In the 2018-19 playoffs, Jason Peters allowed 0 sacks to Khalil Mack and Cameron Jordan in back-to-back weeks as the Eagles made a playoff run with Nick Foles following their Super Bowl win.
- Going into the 2019-20 season, Jason Peters was ranked as the seventh-best left tackle by Pro Football Focus.
These two events came at the ripe old age of 37 years old. While it’s definitely the case that Jason Peters is not going to be a hall-of-fame, perennial all-pro level contributor on the offensive line like he has been his whole career, he could still be in for a bounce-back season after missing eight games last year. Additionally, in his eight games last season, Peters committed zero penalties (seven fewer than Charles Leno Jr. who the Chicago Bears cut earlier this season).
Now, for Sam Mustipher. Mustipher has become a fan favorite after he stepped in as an undrafted free agent at the center position at the peak of the Bears’ offensive line injury woes. From all reports out of camp, Mustipher seems like an early favorite to hold down the center position and this was more or less confirmed during week one of the preseason.
With the Chicago Bears lacking a lot of depth at center, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mustipher gets the start despite his youth and relative inexperience in the NFL. After all, Mustipher was the center on the offensive line that revitalized the Bears’ offense at the end of last season. With Whitehair and Daniels next to him, I believe Mustipher could do a competent job at the center spot and help the offensive line hold its own against Aaron Donald in a few weeks.
Ultimately, a line combination of Peters-Daniels-Mustipher-Whitehair-Ifedi features two solid, veteran tackles and a very promising interior. With this year looking to have an added emphasis on running the ball, I would not be surprised if the Chicago Bears stick with Mustipher at center this season even as their offensive line group continues getting healthier.