Bears Looking at Different O-Line Combinations Now That Lucas Patrick is Back

Social Navigation

Bears Looking at Different O-Line Combinations Now That Lucas Patrick is Back

Chicago Bears

Monday’s news of Lucas Patrick practicing with the offensive line gave us hope that one of the Chicago Bears’ most important offseason additions will be available for Week 1.

And by the time Friday’s week-ending injury report drops, we’ll have a better idea of where he might line up.

In the meantime, the Bears are in the midst of a juggling act. And right now, the team appears to be exploring its options. Indeed, it seems Chicago could deploy Patrick at different positions:

Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus openly discussing Patrick playing different positions suggests a few things. For one big point, it sure sounds like the offensive line isn’t close to being set. You can certainly consider that a problem here at *the start of September.* But at least the Bears have some legitimate options/flexibility to sort through? Is that doing it for you? Bottom line, the Bears are exploring various different starting offensive line combinations going into Week 1. And it all depends on Patrick’s health.

A healthy Patrick whose snapping hand grades out as good to go could lead to this alignment …

  • LT Braxton Jones
  • LG Cody Whitehair
  • C Lucas Patrick
  • RG Teven Jenkins
  • RT Larry Borom

… Which looks solid to me.

They won’t be confused for the mid-90s Cowboys who were bullying their way through opposing defenses. But this group has veteran leadership in the middle (Whitehair, Patrick) to go with youth and upside (Jones, Jenkins, Borom) at three spots.

However, if Patrick is not well enough to snap, but is healthy enough to play, the starting line could look like this:

  • LT Braxton Jones
  • LG Cody Whitehair
  • C Sam Mustipher
  • RG Lucas Patrick
  • RT Larry Borom

I’ll give Mustipher credit for clawing his way into this discussion. His performance last year was disappointing and left much to be desired. That he came in, dabbled at guard during the offseason, and ultimately returned to center for the preseason (looking good at times, might I add) showed enough to pencil him as a swing interior lineman to start this season. Maybe he can recapture some of the excellence he was showing as a rookie.

But this OL deployment would boot Jenkins out of the lineup. And I’m not sure I’d rather see a veteran on a short-term deal play ahead of the team’s most athletically gifted lineman with the highest upside. This is where developing young players while also giving Justin Fields the best possible offensive line is a delicate balance to strike.

In the end, I’m not sure which offensive line would be the best for the Bears. For what it’s worth, Fields and Patrick were hitting it off earlier in the offseason. And if the coaches think the best offensive line is one where Patrick is playing center, then they should roll with that one — but only if he is healthy. Problem is, we just don’t know how healthy Patrick is right now. Just that he is healthy enough to participate in practice. I’d venture to guess we’ll have a better idea of what this unit looks like by Friday.

Latest from Bleacher Nation:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.