It was really unfortunate when the Chicago Bears lost both Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom to injuries earlier this year. They were high on both young draft picks, believing they could’ve made instant contributions to the offensive line. Instead, Jenkins underwent back surgery and Borom is still working his way back from a high ankle sprain. It’s hard not to see this as a considerable setback for both of them. Not if you’re Juan Castillo though.
Knowing the Chicago Bears offensive line coach? He views it as a challenge. There are few things on this earth the man loves more. His job moving forward was simple. How does he maintain the quality of the offensive line while also continuing the development of the young guys? His solution is rather textbook. Literally. According to multiple beat writers, Castillo has employed a classic approach anybody would recognize from their days in high school and college.
“They write him up, they put a video together and then they present it in front of the older kids that are playing,” Castillo said. “So that’s what he does.”
“Then he’ll (Jenkins) put up on the board, he’ll put up for me, he puts up the roster, he puts up the run plays,” Castillo said. “So I’ve got him doing things to keep him active. Also, so he can hear the plays and all that. But he’s in the meetings all the time, so staying very active, stays around the guys. Great kid, hard worker, excited.”
This is Castillo in every way.
The man is notorious for being crazy when it comes to details. Everything must be covered. This is the only way you become a true quality blocker in the NFL. Having talent is important, but it won’t matter if the opponent is able to outthink you. He is doing everything in his power to make sure that whenever Jenkins and Borom see the field again, their minds will be much further along than they were before they got hurt.
That should serve to accelerate their development in the long run. One of the issues young linemen run into is they get caught up in rehab and by the time their recovery is complete, they’re already behind schedule. Castillo is doing everything he can to make sure he limits the damage as much as possible. If Jenkins and Borom embrace this challenge, it will only make them better.
Juan Castillo deserves credit for his work thus far
He was handed a difficult situation almost from the jump. Jenkins gets hurt before training camp even starts. Then Borom goes down in the opener. A few weeks later the Bears lose Germain Ifedi to a knee injury. Yet despite it all, he’s pieced together a front five that remains functional. Sure, it isn’t great. There are problems. However, it is good enough to produce a steady running game and give Justin Fields marginally adequate protection.
This is a big reason why head coach Matt Nagy hired Juan Castillo. A deep trust that the man would get the absolute most out of what the Bears have. He proved it last year amidst all the injuries they suffered. Now he’s doing it again. Hopefully, Jenkins and Borom are as good as the team hopes. It is fun to think about how good this offensive line could be if Castillo has legitimate pieces to work with.
That will have to wait.
Until then, this is the approach the Bears will take. Play the vets and keep the young guys in the classroom. If anything their injuries might’ve been a blessing in disguise. It eventually led to the team signing Jason Peters who has been a huge addition on and off the field for them. His vast experience and knowledge have helped the rookies a ton already.