INDIANAPOLIS — With over a month now to settle into his new job, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles has a much better handle on what he inherited from his predecessor.
And one thing is blatantly obvious: The offensive line is about to be overhauled.
New players are coming. And the ones who stay are going to have to make some changes.
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“We're going to change it up a little bit just in terms of the style,” Poles said Tuesday at the NFL Combine. “A lot of those guys — and the message has been clear — we've gotta change body types a little bit. We've gotta get lighter, we've gotta get quicker.”
Poles already has detailed his beliefs in performance and nutrition and backed that up by overhauling the strength and conditioning staff, while also creating a new “director of high performance” position.
Last month, Poles spoke about how he’s less worried about weight and more concerned about what makes up that weight.
“Especially the big guys up front, lean body mass is a huge indicator for us. So I’m not too worried about the scale. I’m worried about how much muscle mass they have on,” Poles said. “So that’s part of that process — getting big, strong, dense human beings up there.”
Tuesday in Indianapolis, he continued that line of thinking, emphasizing the need to tweak the offensive line and “make sure we get everyone fit and in the right spots.”
Perhaps the biggest question is how Poles views Teven Jenkins, the team’s second round draft pick in 2021, who only played in six games as a rookie and wasn’t in the best shape because of back surgery in August. At this point, the GM isn’t sure where Jenkins will line up on the line after the past regime viewed him as the future left tackle.
“It's too early right now. When we get back, we'll get organized,” Poles said. "(We have) the extra minicamp that we get in April, so we've got some time to figure that out, but when we do, we'll move those guys around and see where they fit the best.”
Jenkins and fellow second-year lineman Larry Borom figure to be the obvious players who will still be a big part of the line, but may have to make some physical changes. Borom already lost a considerable amount of weight since he played at Missouri. The futures of center Sam Mustipher and guards Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are less clear. Daniels is set to hit free agency later this month.
“I think there's some young talent that just needs to be pressed,” Poles said. “That's part of our job, to create competition and bring the best out of them. We'll do that and we'll see if the cream rises to the top.”