Detroit Lions, NFC North positional previews: Offensive Line

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Frank Ragnow #77 of the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Frank Ragnow #77 of the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /

Chicago Bears

Key returning players: Charles Leno Jr., James Daniels, Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell

New additions: Ted Larsen, T.J. Clemmings, Cornelius Lucas

Key losses: Eric Kush, Bryan Witzmann

Consistency and continuity are the keys to the offensive line for the Chicago Bears, as they appear to be the only team in the division that will field the same starting five this year that took the majority of the snaps for them in 2018. If this unit performs the way they did last year, the Bears will be in great shape in 2019.

Though neither is a star, Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie arguably represent the most consistent tackle duo in the division. Durability and value have been key for these two, as Massie and Leno were fourth and seventh round draft picks, respectively. They have missed a combined two games over the past three years, and they should continue to be rocks as the Bears’ bookends in 2019. They also benefit from the Bears’ run-heavy and tackle-friendly offensive scheme and rarely commit penalties. Bradley Sowell is likely to get first crack again as their backup.

On the inside, longtime guard Kyle Long represents the biggest question mark on the line. One of the Bears’ most respected locker room leaders, Long has had trouble staying on the field in recent years, missing 23 games over the last three years after sitting out just one contest in his first three seasons. The Bears are a better team with him on the field.

Like the Lions, the Bears could be switching a second year lineman to his more natural position at center. 2018 second rounder James Daniels showed promise playing guard, but could move back to man the pivot, pushing Cody Whitehair out to guard. Daniels excelled at center at Iowa, and returning him to the middle could make the Bears’ line one of best in football.

Whitehair, who has started every game in his three seasons, did make the Pro Bowl as a center last year, but shouldn’t miss a beat should they make the switch. Ted Larsen was brought back for a second stint in Chicago from the Miami Dolphins to act as the primary interior backup.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s mobility and head coach Matt Nagy’s unique offensive scheme allow the Bears to take some pressure off of the offensive line and make lesser known players seem more proficient than they may be on another team. Regardless, it’s a dependable, strong group that will play a major role in whether the Bears can repeat as division champions in 2019.

Next. Ranking the Detroit Lions’ first round picks since 2010. dark

Which NFC North team do you think has the best group of offensive linemen? Let us know in the comments section below.

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