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Why did Lucas Patrick start against Texans? | Chalk Talk

Bears offensive lineman Lucas Patrick
Bears offensive lineman Lucas Patrick

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on

Why did Lucas Patrick start and play most of Sunday's game against the Texans at right guard instead of splitting time equally with Teven Jenkins?
Phil L.
Elmhurst, Illinois

Coach Matt Eberflus revealed Monday that veteran Lucas Patrick started against the Texans and played 41 of the Bears' 63 offensive snaps based on what transpired in practice during the week leading up to the game, especially in Wednesday's padded workout. Said Eberflus: "It's about practice. 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's playing time has increased each of the past two weeks, from 47 percent of the snaps against the 49ers to 54 percent in Green Bay to 65 percent versus the Texans.

What do you think Justin Fields can do to improve his game?
Lisa N.

Coach Matt Eberflus said Monday that quarterback Justin Fields will work this week in practice on his footwork and timing in terms of when he releases the ball. Both were issues Sunday against the Texans. The Bears hope that better footwork and timing will help him eliminate interceptions like the two Fields threw versus Houston, both of which came on overthrown balls down the middle of the field. Asked specifically about Fields' second interception—a pass intended for receiver Darnell Mooney that was thrown into triple coverage, Eberflus said: "He's just got to handle the ball better. He just can't put the ball in harm's way. He knows that. On that particular play, he did. He's got to do a better job of that."

I thought on Houston's first interception, the ball touched the ground. Was the play challenged or discussed?
Rich L.
Laguna Hills, California

The tip of the ball did touch the ground as Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre tried to secure it; the only question was whether he had control of the ball when that occurred. All turnovers are automatically reviewed, and referee Clete Blakeman ruled that Pitre did in fact have control of the ball. Interestingly, CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore, a longtime NFL referee, said on the broadcast that he would have overturned the call on the field and ruled it incomplete.

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