Olin Kreutz is one of the all-time Chicago Bears great. A six-time Pro Bowl center who has a case for possibly reaching Canton one day. One other thing that makes him unforgettable is his personality. Kreutz has always been a guy who isn’t afraid of anybody or anything. While he can be respectful, he also isn’t afraid to tell people what he thinks. His recent interview on the Hoge & Jahns podcast is a perfect example. Not only did he take a shot at head coach Matt Nagy for his lack of prowess at crafting a running game, he also accused Mitch Trubisky of not being the best teammate at times.
The example he used came from last season. It was clear the Bears had planned to move former 2nd round pick James Daniels to center. A move that made sense since he’d excelled at it in college. However, the eight-game experiment didn’t go well. Too often there were lapses in protection and the run game wouldn’t function. So Nagy decided to move Cody Whitehair back to center with Daniels going to left guard.
Kreutz was vocal about that at the time, feeling it was a mistake to abandon the kid after such a short period of time. Trubisky, for his part, didn’t help matters when he expressed clear relief at Whitehair returning to center. Even though Kreutz believes he was a primary cause for Daniels’ struggles in the first place.
Mitch Trubisky wanted Whitehair back because it allowed him to do less
A lot of people think the only responsibility of a quarterback is to call the play and throw the ball to the open guy. It goes way beyond that. One of their unsung jobs is working with the center to adjust the blocking scheme according to what the defense is showing. When does right, it should create a solid pocket to throw from. If done wrong, the QB will often see a free pass rusher in his face.
Daniels being at center exposed both his inexperience and Trubisky’s clear lack of ability to see through what the defenses are showing him. That is why he expressed such relief at Whitehair’s return.
“Yeah, it was good. Cody does a great job having him back there. He’s a really big leader for this offense and this offensive line. He’s really good with communicating, helping those young guys to the sides of him now, and we have really good chemistry, me and him. So he gives me confidence and we’ve just got to keep feeding off that, and when he’s in the middle just his communication and how he leads the guys, I think it really helps the offense and guys feed off that.”
In other words, Whitehair better covered up the fact that Trubisky still hasn’t learned how to read defenses despite three years in the NFL. Kreutz may be right. Perhaps a different QB under center at the time might’ve helped Daniels to adjust and blossom faster. It’s likely the Bears never find out for sure. It’s also easier than ever to understand why they traded for Nick Foles.