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Bears put Germain Ifedi on injured reserve, Elijah Wilkinson likely to start with right tackle




When the Chicago Bears host of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, they will do this without one of their novice offensive linemen. On Wednesday, the Bears put the right tackle Germain Ifedi on the injured reserve, shutting him down for the next three weeks and forcing a new starter onto the field.

Ifedi left last week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders with what was described as a knee injury. On Wednesday, however, the Bears described the injury to his hip flexor. Regardless, Ifedi will not play on Sunday and will likely make way for veteran backup Elijah Wilkinson, who came on for the Raiders after Ifedis left.

Wilkinson, who signed this offseason with the Bears after four seasons with the Denver Broncos, is no stranger to the starting lineup. He started at least seven games in each of the past three seasons, playing both right guard and right tackle. He didn’t play very well, though good for Denver. That was especially true in 2020, when he earned just a 52.5 overall mark from Pro Football Focus on nearly 550 snaps.

While the Bears have fairly solid veteran guards in Cody Whitehair and James Daniels, a backup to the right should give the Packers and Rashan Gary in particular chances to pocket the pocket on quarterback Justin Fields. Plus, center Sam Mustipher has had a rough time this season, which will provide Kenny Clark with a tantalizing matchup when he lines up at nose tackle.

The Bears now have three offensive tackles on injured reserve, while Ifedi joins rookies Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom on the shelf. Jenkins was a second round pick from State of Oklahoma and the teams were supposed to tackle the current and future left wing, but past issues have kept him out so far, forcing the Bears to sign 39-year-old Jason Peters to man the blind side. Borom, a Missouri fifth round roster, may qualify for a return this week to provide depth, but in that case he would likely still serve as a backup to Wilkinson.

After taking nine sacks in his first start against the Cleveland Browns, Fields was fired just three times in Bears’ last two games, wins the Detroit Lions and the Raiders. Those numbers coincided with Chicagos change in game-calling, as offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took over from head coach Matt Nagy two weeks ago.

In addition, the Packers pass rush has been on an upward trend lately after a slow start to the season, averaging three sacks and eight quarterback hits in the past three games. A match-up with a backup right tackle could allow this group to improve further and could be key to a Green Bay win on Sunday.




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