Lucas Patrick's Return to Center Should Put an End to the Right Guard Platoon Situation

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Lucas Patrick’s Return to Center Should Put an End to the Right Guard Platoon Situation

Chicago Bears

Changes could be coming to the Chicago Bears offensive line as early as this week.

During Wednesday’s practice, Lucas Patrick was snapping for the first time since before he suffered a hand injury that required surgical repair in late July. So while that was just a first step in the process toward Patrick returning to center, it wasn’t a small step. And another could be forthcoming.

Mark Grote, who reports on the Bears for 670 The Score and serves as the sideline reporter for Bears Radio, shared this nugget via Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy:

Getsy signaling the plan to work Patrick at center is another positive sign that Chicago’s offensive line could soon be at full-strength. And after Sunday, I’m taking the good news wherever I can get it.

Patrick was originally signed to play center early in the offseason. But he has been playing guard in a rotation with Teven Jenkins during the first two games. I can’t front. The Jenkins-Patrick rotation had its perks. It eased Jenkins into a position he has been playing for just a little more than a month. And it created a smooth transition into the lineup for Patrick. Remember how much he sat out during the summer while recovering from the injury? An acclimation process was always going to be necessary. So, in a way, this manufactured platoon became a win-win situation for all parties. Rotating Jenkins and Patrick has allowed both players to settle into action and build up a lather. All without putting too much on either player’s plate.

But let me be clear. If Patrick is ready to play center, then Jenkins should get all the guard snaps. Full stop.

Even if Patrick wasn’t ready for center duties, I’d still think it is time for Jenkins to play full time. The part-time work has to eventually end. Plus, Jenkins has shown flashes of being the team’s best lineman:

Sure, Jenkins still has growing to do at the position. But I’m not sure spoon-feeding him partial reps will be best for big-picture growth for much longer.

Chicago’s offensive braintrust successfully incorporated Patrick back into the game action. By giving him a timeshare, the Bears provided him the equivalent of the preseason snaps he couldn’t play this summer. All in all, that’s smart thinking (in my opinion). Moreover, it is probably better than the alternative of throwing a cold lineman to the wolves. However, the time splitting experiment should end soon. Based on age and upside, Jenkins is more likely to be a long-term fixture along the line than Patrick. Let the young guy play and let him learn from experience.

Author: Luis Medina

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