Luke Getsy isn't ready to anoint the Bears' starting offensive line for their Sept. 11 season opener against the 49ers. But the offensive coordinator has been impressed with how left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom have performed as a unit.
"I don't want to go there yet, but I thought all those guys have done a nice job of getting better each day," Getsy told reporters Monday. "You guys have naturally seen guys fall into certain positions where they maybe feel a little bit more comfortable, so I think there's been growth.
"I love their playing style. I think as much as anything, they've bought in and you guys have seen, when our guys are getting tackled, they're being picked up by those five guys every single time. They're running to the ball, they're finishing, and we want to play that kind of ball. We want to play nasty. We want to be more physical than everybody else. Those guys have bought into that."
The most positive recent development has been the emergence of Jenkins, who has shown promise since being moved from tackle to right guard Aug. 14. After two days of practice, he started at his new position in a preseason win over the Seahawks and then made a second start Saturday night in Cleveland.
"Teven's done a great job of accepting that challenge of right guard," Getsy said. "We threw him in there and a few days later he's playing in a game in Seattle. I thought that showed, one, his athleticism, and two, his mental capacity. I think I've told you guys in here before that the guard position has more on his plate than the tackle position. For him to be able to go in and execute at a high level was really good."
Another pleasant surprise has been Jones' performance at left tackle. The fifth-round pick from Southern Utah was inserted into the starting unit midway through offseason programs and never relinquished the job.
"Braxton's done a nice job," Getsy said. "For a young guy, he came in kind of hot. We were really excited about what he was showing. Then we put on pads and I thought it shocked him a little bit—obviously having Robert [Quinn] to go against every day doesn't help. But then I thought he really did a great job of kind of digging his feet in the ground and getting right back at it. These last two or three weeks, I thought he's done a really nice job of getting better every day.
"I'm excited to see what he can do, and I think he's got a bunch of confidence in himself, too. And he's got an opportunity to show what he's got."
Stepping up: Fifth-year receiver Dante Pettis has taken advantage of expanded playing time at a position that remains thinned out by injuries.
With receivers Byron Pringle, N'Keal Harry, Velus Jones Jr. and Tajae Sharpe all unable to play Saturday night against the Browns, Pettis caught three passes for 37 yards and one touchdown and returned two punts for 17 yards.
"He's done a great job," Getsy said. "An opportunity was presented and he's gone out and taken it by the horns. He's done a great job of being able to have flexibility to play multiple positions. He's presented one-on-one opportunities and he's won them, both in practice and preseason games. In our game, you've got to have guys that are able to win those one-on-one battles. He's done a nice job with that."
Getsy praised Pettis' route-running ability, something the receiver displayed in Cleveland on a post-corner pass that he hauled in from Justin Fields for a 12-yard TD.
"He has a really cool ability to play on his insteps," Getsy said, "and his patience to be comfortable being really close to a defender is something that the great ones, they're able to do that. There's no panic. You're not making a move so far away from the guy. You're able to smell his breath and make a move. That's a really cool quality he has."
Support system: Second-round pick Kyler Gordon is a lock to make the Bears roster. But the cornerback from Washington empathizes with rookie teammates who won't survive the cutdown to 53, which must take place by 3 p.m. (CT) Tuesday.
"It's sad to create those friendships and see them go," Gordon said. "But I tell anyone that has been cut that I have been close with or got to talk to, 'The mission is the same. There are still spots to be taken. Just because something happens doesn't mean you take the foot off the gas. You keep going.'
"I'm obviously there to support them and still talk to them and text them and whatnot. I just want to be someone who's encouraging."