The Chicago Bears offensive line hasn’t operated at full strength since the regular season began. That was because Lucas Patrick, their projected starting center, fractured his thumb back in August during practices. This forced the team to rely on Sam Mustipher while Patrick rotated with Teven Jenkins at right guard through the first two games. Now it appears a change is coming based on recent evidence.
Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago caught some video of Patrick going through drills at practice. His hand cast was gone, and he was snapping the ball at center. This offers an obvious assumption that he is in line to make his first start in the middle on Sunday against the Houston Texans. It means the Bears will get to see their offensive line at full strength. That has to be something the coaches are excited about. One can bet Patrick certainly is.
Chicago Bears now could really start moving people.
Getting Patrick between Cody Whitehair and Jenkins now puts their three best interior run blockers on the field at the same time. The Bears showed last week they’re capable of dominating opponents on the ground. Jenkins has looked almost unstoppable at times. People have been dying to see him play a full game. He and Patrick bring a nastiness the Bears want up front. There is no doubt this is the combination they’ve been waiting to see.
It could also help Justin Fields. Jenkins has looked more than serviceable at keeping the pocket clean. When healthy, Patrick only allowed 21 total pressures in 603 pass-blocking snaps with the Packers last season. If those two play up to their potential, the Chicago Bears quarterback could have a significant rebound performance against the Houston Texans.
GM Ryan Poles has high hopes for Patrick at center. If he meets those expectations, the Bears’ offensive line could be far better than expected over the final 15 games.