Bears to try Lucas Patrick at center and guard


Lucas Patrick returned to Bears practice on Monday as a limited participant, and the Bears are hopeful he’ll be good to go for Week 1’s matchup against the 49ers. What’s still questionable, however, is where Patrick will line up on the offensive line.

The Bears will first evaluate if Patrick is ready to play. That assessment will happen over Wednesday and Thursday. The Bears will look at things like Patrick’s conditioning and how his thumb responds to resuming football activities. Once he’s cleared that hurdle, then the coaching staff will start evaluating his fit on the line.

A lot has changed since Patrick initially injured himself in July. At that point, Patrick was the unquestioned starting center, with the position battles happening at both tackle positions and at right guard. Now, Sam Mustipher has taken over as the starting center with Teven Jenkins emerging as the lead candidate at right guard. But the team has been adamant all year that they’re looking for the best combination of five players to make their strongest starting unit. If coaches feel better about Mustipher at center than they do about Jenkins at guard, and if they think Patrick is an upgrade over Jenkins at guard, then they won’t hesitate to make changes on the line.

“We're gonna be open-minded to that,” Eberflus said last week.

Patrick played both center and guard in his time with the Packers, and the Bears valued that versatility when they signed him, even though they viewed him as their starting center, and not a factor in the right guard competition. With a different landscape heading into Week 1, coaches will take advantage of that versatility to give themselves, and Justin Fields, the best chance possible against the 49ers.

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