Offensive lineman Lucas Patrick will make his return to Green Bay Sunday night as the Bears' honorary captain for Week 2, coach Matt Eberflus announced on Wednesday. Patrick played six seasons with the Packers before signing with Chicago this offseason.
The veteran was honored to be named a captain for his return to Lambeau Field.
"I mean it's pretty huge," Patrick said. "Any time you can be a captain and be up there representing your team and this great organization, it means a lot. It's pretty impactful to me. I know it's going to be a storyline – me going back there and all that. But it's pretty cool for me to be an honorary captain for this game and be out there on Lambeau with my guys."
While Patrick is thankful to be with the Bears, he has no ill will toward the Packers. In fact, Patrick expects to feel a lot of gratitude when he steps onto Lambeau Field Sunday.
"I'm not going to sit here and bash an organization because I wouldn't be here today standing with you all if it weren't for the opportunity afforded to me," Patrick said. "I had a lot of memories there with close family and friends. I know you guys probably don't like to hear this, but we have personalities and feelings. I have some friends still there. So, yeah, I'll definitely have some gratitude and some emotions, but at the end of the day, I have a job to do, and I've got to execute that job."
Getting better: While Eberflus opened up his head-coaching tenure with a win last Sunday, one victory isn't enough for satisfaction. Eberflus utilizes the 24-hour rule, meaning players and coaches have that amount of time to celebrate a win before moving on.
After watching the tape from the season opener against the 49ers, Eberflus is focused on improvement across the board.
"I just think we played with good effort," he said. "It's not good enough. We have to improve that. The instantaneous reactions need to be better. We are a little bit tape delayed at times. But we need to improve that. It's reading your keys and being faster to the punch. But I thought for the first part of it, the first game, I thought guys played relatively well."
Once evaluation of a game begins, Eberflus leaves the score and the outcome behind. The priority becomes helping each player find the good and bad in their performance so they can learn from it.
Part of the process is the coaching staff issuing player grades and loafs on Mondays. Analyzing the effort and intensity each player gave in the game isn't meant as a criticism. Eberflus explained that the loaf system is designed to be a partnership between a player and coach to create individual improvement and, as a result, help the team win each down.
Now the Bears will turn their attention to bringing that hustle and intensity back to the practice field in preparation for Week 2 in Green Bay.
"In order to play hard, you gotta live hard and that means that our practice has gotta be intense, it's gotta be physical … the guys themselves have to push themselves so we keep things sharp and we get better," Eberflus said before Wednesday's practice. "The individual periods are going to have to be on point with the coaches, and that's a big, big day for us and we have to get better today. So, that's really the focus we will have today."
Pressure up front: The Bears defense blitzed just once against the 49ers but put plenty of pressure on quarterback Trey Lance.
Bears defensive linemen combined for eight of nine quarterback pressures -- with linebacker Roquan Smith accounting for the other one – and recorded five quarterback hurries.
"That to me, it's really good because you have now seven guys in coverage and you're able to fill windows and that's really good against a good quarterback," Eberflus said. "If you're playing a guy whose got a little bit more inexperience, you can get away with sending five or more after him and open up those windows and that will affect him because he'll look down at the rush a lot of time. But when you have a guy with experience, you really want to be able to do that most of the time, have seven guys in coverage, rush with four, and that's how we operate most of the time anyway."
Injury Update: The Bears listed just two players on the injury report Wednesday. Receiver Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) returned to practice as a limited participant after missing Week 1 with the injury. Tackle Riley Reiff (shoulder) was also a limited participant.
Jones said he is hopeful about being healthy for Sunday night in Green Bay.
"There's nothing better than the feeling of going out there with your brothers, being able to compete, and so I'm just truly blessed to be back on the field," Jones said. "I'm truly happy … My body feels good. I'm trying to stack days one day at a time, not trying to think too far down the line but definitely working on my hamstring each and every day."
Roster Moves: The Bears signed guard Michael Schofield III to the active roster Wednesday. Schofield returns to Halas Hall after signing with the Bears July 25 then being released Aug. 30 as a part of final cuts.
Schofield said he received the phone call to come back around 6 p.m. CT Tuesday and arrived to the facility late at night.
"I'm definitely excited to be back, especially after watching that first game," Schofield said. "It kinda sucked watching it from home, but it was pretty cool watching and watching that weather and how the team acted and played and how great they looked. So, definitely wanted to come back and pretty excited to get the call to come back."
Schofield has seven seasons of NFL experience – including 81 starts in 102 appearances – playing for the Broncos, Chargers and Panthers.
The Bears also placed guard/tackle Alex Leatherwood on the reserve/non-football illness list, which means he'll be sidelined for at least four weeks. The Bears claimed Leatherwood, a 2021 first-round pick, off waivers from the Raiders Aug. 31. Eberflus is optimistic about Leatherwood's return this season.
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Sunday night's matchup with the rival Packers in Green Bay.