Eberflus explains why Bears started Patrick over Jenkins vs. Texans originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – In the Bears' first two games, Teven Jenkins and Lucas Patrick shared an almost even 50-50 split of the right guard duties, with Jenkins getting the start.
That changed in Sunday's 23-20 win over the Houston Texans at Soldier Field.
Patrick got the start as he continues to recover from a thumb injury to his snapping hand. Jenkins rotated in, but Patrick played 41 snaps to Jenkins' 22.
Why the change?
Head coach Matt Eberflus, in his best Allen Iverson impression, was frank with how the Bears made the decision.
"It's about practice," Eberflus said Monday. "We evaluate practice. Wednesday is a big day for us, Thursday, and Friday. We thought that Lucas did a good job of practicing. He was solid in his practice. Teven did a nice job on Thursday and Friday but needs to have a better Wednesday for him to step into that role."
Patrick resumed snapping in practice last week, but his thumb was apparently not well enough for him to slot in at center against the Texans.
Eberflus has said the Bears' offensive line picture will change once Patrick returns to his expected role. However, he has not said whether Jenkins will take full command of the right guard duties or if the second-year lineman will rotate with current center Sam Mustipher.
Since making the transition from tackle to guard six weeks ago, Jenkins has come a long way in a short amount of time. He showcased his potential in Week 1 when he pancaked San Francisco 49ers star Nick Bosa before getting out on the edge to block for quarterback Justin Fields.
That's an example of how dominant Jenkins believes he can be when everything starts clicking. That might take some time, but Jenkins is proud of his progress.
"The process is actually getting a lot better," Jenkins told NBC Sports Chicago. "Just being thrown in the fire and having to deal with it and the role, you start to have to pick up things a lot faster. It's basically like how you throw a kid in the pool and tell him sink or swim."
Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan has praised Jenkins for his hard work while noting they are still trying to "stack" good days on top of good days to get him where he needs to be as an interior lineman.
While the Bears' offensive line has been excellent in the run game this season, it has had issues keeping the heat off Fields.
Through three games, Patrick has allowed four pressures and has a pass-block grade of 42.4, per Pro Football Focus. Jenkins, meanwhile, has allowed only two pressures and has a pass-block grade of 57.2. Jenkins didn't allow a pressure against the Texans.
In the ground game, Jenkins ranks as the 17th best run-blocking guard, per PFF. That's one spot behind Bears left guard Cody Whitehair. Patrick ranks 56th.
The Bears need to figure out their offensive line combination. Finding their five best linemen and sticking with them will give the Bears the best chance of sustained success.
I'm of the opinion that having Jenkins at right guard is part of the solution.
But he apparently needs to show that in practice before Eberflus and Morgan feel the same.
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