With the Bears' regular season opener 20 days away, their offensive line is beginning to trend in the right direction at an ideal time.
On Monday, right tackle Germain Ifedi practiced for the first time since the start of training camp, left tackle Jason Peters began his first full week of workouts and right guard James Daniels continued to ramp up after missing the first two preseason games.
Ifedi was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, where he had resided since injuring his hip flexor during a conditioning drill on the first day of training camp.
The 6-5, 340-pounder joined the Bears last year after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Seahawks. After starting the first 10 games at right guard in 2020, Ifedi was moved to right tackle as part of a reconfigured line that helped fuel an offensive resurgence.
After making the changes during the bye week, the Bears scored at least 30 points in four straight games for the first time since 1965. They also generated 19 touchdowns in five games and averaged 33.0 points. In their seven previous contests, they were limited to nine TDs and averaged 16.7 points.
Peters signed with the Bears last Monday. A nine-time Pro Bowler in 17 seasons with the Bills (2004-08) and Eagles (2009-20), he practiced for the first time on a limited basis last Thursday but did not play in Saturday's preseason game against Buffalo. Peters is competing for the starting left tackle position with veteran Elijah Wilkinson and rookie fifth-round pick Larry Borom.
Daniels is expected to see increased reps after returning to practice on a limited basis last Wednesday after sitting out two weeks with a quad injury he sustained Aug. 3 in the Bears' Family Fest practice at Soldier Field.
Coach Matt Nagy is excited about having the offensive line virtually at full strength and is eager to see how the unit performs this week in practice as well as in Saturday's preseason finale against the Titans in Tennessee.
"It's really important," Nagy said. "That's probably the one thing that we haven't really talked a whole lot about, but we really haven't had that starting line together this whole training camp. So, we're excited to be able to see where guys are at left tackle; get James back, get Ifedi back, get Sam [Mustipher] and Cody [Whitehair], who have been playing their butt off in practice and in games, and really be able to see that. I think it's important that they start getting some reps here this week and then in the game, too, possibly."
Nagy plans to ease Ifedi and Peters into action, saying the two "can't come on in and just play the whole practice."
"There's a rhythm to how they do it," Nagy said. "So we've got to monitor that, but then we also know this third game in preseason is going to be real for them to be able to get out there and see what they can do for football shape, too."