Jaquan Brisker is far from reaching his ceiling as an NFL player, but the Bears rookie safety is ascending in that direction on a daily basis.
"I see him improving in practice," said coach Matt Eberflus. "Some of the things we work with him on is the footwork and the block protection and all those things that really you [need] to do a good job at safety."
Brisker has registered his first two NFL sacks in the last three games, one against the Giants and other versus the Commanders. Entering Week 7, he ranks fifth on the Bears with 35 tackles.
"He's blitzing better," Eberflus said. "He's timing those things up better. He's really doing a good job. Man, he's tough. What I love about him is his toughness. He's a mentally and physically tough player, and that's what we covet here at the Bears. I think that you have that with the way he wants to learn and get better with Andre [Curtis], his coach, and learn from the older guys. His willingness to get better every single day, man, that's going to make for a good product."
Last Thursday night against the Commanders, Brisker forced a punt with a third-down sack of Carson Wentz and provided strong run support, making big hits on a trio of runs by running back Brian Robinson.
Brisker agrees with Eberflus' assertion that he's improving in practice. The second-round pick from Penn State has focused on cleaning up his footwork when tackling, "being more balanced, more under control, staying more square, letting it come to me, being a little more patient."
"I feel like I'm just really focusing on my technique every single play," Brisker said. "I'm really just locking in, just doing my job, doing what I have to do at a fast-speed pace."
Not my standard: Speaking to reporters Thursday, veteran offensive lineman Lucas Patrick provided a blunt assessment of how he's been playing of late.
"Definitely not my standard," Patrick said. "I am trying to get in a rhythm. I personally have to be better for this team. What I was brought in here to do and perform, I haven't been playing to my standards, point blank."
After spending his first six NFL seasons with the Packers, Patrick signed a two-year deal with the Bears in March. The team planned on starting him at center, but he sustained a right hand injury on the second day of training camp that sidelined him for a month.
Returning for the season opener, Patrick split time with Teven Jenkins at right guard in the first three games but has played exclusively at left guard the past three contests after veteran Cody Whitehair hurt his knee.
"It's a different approach, but there's no excuses in this game," Patrick said. "If I'm in there playing, the guy I am going against doesn't care whether I've had 1,000 snaps, one snap, playing left, right, whatever. I have to perform. I'm going to work at performing at a higher level."
In an effort to improve his play, Patrick has recently spoken to offensive line coach Chris Morgan and veteran linemates such as Whitehair and Riley Reiff.
"It's not too tough to self-evaluate yourself because the beauty of this sport is it's black and white," Patrick said. "Either I get my job done or I don't. There's not many things I think in society that it's as black and white as this sport, which I love because there's no hiding. It's either who you are as a person or who you're not, and you have to have open and honest and real conversations."
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Thursday afternoon for their first practice of the week ahead of Monday night's road game against the Patriots.
Honorary captain: Eberflus announced that the Bears' extra captain this week will be safety and special-teams standout DeAndre Houston-Carson.
The seventh-year pro is tied for the team lead with five special-teams tackles.
"He's obviously very deserving of that," Eberflus said. "We introduced him today in the team meeting. He's done a lot for the Chicago Bears over the years. He's been a consummate pro over the years. And man, he works every day. He's everything we stand for in terms of work ethic, being a good teammate, and we're excited for his opportunity to do that."
"It's a big honor," Houston-Carson said. "Anytime you get to go out there and represent the Chicago Bears, it's just cool."
Healthy team: For the first time this season, the Bears had no players listed on their injury report Thursday as they began preparing for Monday night's game in New England.
Among the players who practiced without restrictions was receiver N'Keal Harry, who is hoping to make his Bears debut against his former team.
Acquired July 13 from the Patriots in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round pick, Harry returned to practice two weeks ago for the first time since hurting his ankle Aug. 6 in training camp. He was not given an injury designation last week but was not active last Thursday night versus the Commanders.