One of the most important relationships on the football field is between the quarterback and center. So when new Bears offensive lineman Lucas Patrick agreed to come to Chicago, he hit up his former Packers teammate Josh Myers to ask about Myers’ former Buckeyes teammate, Justin Fields.
“I trust (Myers) a lot, and what he says, and the person that he is, and he speaks highly of Justin,” Patrick said. “So I’ve already got a ton of admiration and respect for him just purely off other relationships I have and what they’ve said about him.”
Patrick’s admiration for the guy he’ll be snapping to began last season however, when the Packers faced the Bears for the first time, in Week 6.
“Honestly I was biting my tongue on the sideline hoping this guy doesn't get loose,” Patrick said. “I mean he's got it, and you know he can sling it, he can run it, he can do everything. But what I would say from our games一 specifically the game that was here一 he's tough.
“I mean he stood in there, and he's tough, and he looked like he dealt with a lot this year, not only coming in with that pressure he had, but also physically dealing with some of the shots he took and some other things.”
Which is where Patrick comes in. Despite only playing in 12 games, and only starting 10 of those games, Fields ranked 10th in the NFL with 36 sacks taken. His 11.8% sack rate led the league. If the Bears want to make improvements on offense next season, it’s going to start with keeping Fields upright.
“I don't want to speak too much on statistics but I've had a good track record over the last two years of blocking for a quarterback, and keeping him pretty clean,” Patrick said. “I plan to keep him as clean as possible so he can make the plays that he was brought in here to make.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Patrick only surrendered one sack last season, on 911 offensive snaps. The majority of those snaps were at center, but Patrick has played at both guard positions for the Packers, too.
But Patrick wants to do more than letting his play talk to build a relationship with his new QB.
“One of the good things about forming a good relationship is like I’ll have to listen. Because there’s a reason he was brought here, and there’s a reason he is the player he is, and kind of listen to what he thinks he does well, and what has worked for him and hopefully expand that as much as I can.”