Chicago Bears notes: OL Lucas Patrick says ‘I haven’t been playing to my standards’

LAKE FOREST – Bears offensive lineman Lucas Patrick knows he has to be better. Playing both guard positions at various times, the veteran has struggled in pass protection.

The Bears brought Patrick to Chicago as a free agent with the intention of playing him at center. Injuries have dictated otherwise. A thumb injury on his throwing hand forced him to sit out all of August. When he returned, he still couldn’t snap the football, so he played right guard. Then left guard Cody Whitehair went down with a knee injury, and Patrick shifted over to that spot.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said his team is reevaluating everything this week. That could mean changes are coming on the offensive line. Patrick said he did some honest self-evaluation over the long weekend.

“Definitely not my standard,” Patrick said. “There are some serious things I have been working on trying to work out kinks. I am trying to get in a rhythm. I personally have to be better for this team. What I was brought in here to do and perform, I haven’t been playing to my standards. Point blank.”

Patrick noted that football is pretty black and white. When someone is not playing well, it stands out on the film. Patrick doesn’t like what he has seen from himself through the first six weeks of the season.

He spent time with offensive line coach Chris Morgan, as well as with veteran teammates such as Riley Reiff and Whitehair, discussing how he can improve.

“We’ve got some really good players here we can rely on, but it’s having face-to-face, man-to-man conversations about what’s going on,” Patrick said.

Patriots QB: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick rattled on for seven minutes about the “pretty impressive group” that is the Bears.

It was yet another quintessential Belichick-ian news conference. Belichick went on for more than 1,000 words analyzing the Bears’ offense, defense and special teams – unprompted.

Eberflus had much less to say about Belichick’s current quarterback situation. Bailey Zappe, a rookie fourth-round pick, has started and won two consecutive games, while last year’s first-round pick Mac Jones has been out with an ankle injury.

Jones was listed as limited in practice Thursday. ESPN reported that Jones is likely to return Monday night against the Bears. Eberflus thinks the two QBs run the offense similarly.

“Well, I feel that really the offense is the Patriots’ offense,” Eberflus said. “So I don’t really see a big difference when I watch the tape before or after. To me, it’s the offense that they’re running, and it’s their style, and they’re going to stick with that.”

Leatherwood’s return? The Bears are reevaluating everything, but Eberflus has purposefully kept his plans vague in terms of what changes the Bears might actually make on the field.

One intriguing option could be to work lineman Alex Leatherwood into the mix. The Bears claimed Leatherwood off waivers in September, after the former first-round draft pick failed to make the Las Vegas Raiders’ 53-man roster.

Leatherwood remains on the nonfootball illness list after missing about a month, reportedly because of mononucleosis. He has returned to practice, however, and is eligible to return to the active roster anytime in the next two weeks.

“He’s in a good spot,” Eberflus said. “He’s working himself back in there and we’ll see where it goes, physically. But we’re certainly excited to have a talent like that, and really start to evaluate where he is on our offensive line.”

Injury report: The Bears must release an injury report three times per week during game weeks. Most days, there’s at least a handful of names on the list.

Thursday was a Bears’ fans dream. The report read, simply: “No injuries to report.” The 11-day layoff is already working wonders for the Bears’ health.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.