The Chicago Bears knew COVID-19 wasn’t going to leave them alone this year. It was a matter of when and where the virus would make its presence felt. They probably didn’t expect it all to be focused on one position though. Already star nose tackle Eddie Goldman opted out of the season due to higher health risks involved.
Now the team suffered another blow as his only backup, veteran John Jenkins, was placed on the Reserve/COVID list by the team ahead of training camp according to Ian Rapoport. This means he either has the virus or was in close contact with somebody who does. That means the Bears could begin practicing soon without a single nose tackle on the field.
Chicago Bears almost have to add nose tackle help now
GM Ryan Pace said he was comfortable with the state of the defensive line depth after Goldman bowed out. He felt confident that guys could step up to fill that void. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of adding more help down the line. With Jenkins going down, he almost has no choice now. It’s all but a necessity that he finds somebody to plug into a position that is no longer even represented on the depth chart.
Plenty of veteran options exist. The most prominent is Damon Harrison, a longtime run stuffer who did great work in New York and Detroit. He’d be a solid fit for this defense presuming he’s healthy. The same goes for Domata Peko. He too has built a long career on plugging up running lanes. Whether he has any gas left at age 35 is the big question.
The Bears tried not to have a knee-jerk reaction to Goldman’s loss. It seems the virus doesn’t care much for their procedure. It is forcing Pace’s hand. Will he act? The next few days should reveal much.