I still remember the Timex slogan, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
Lucas Patrick is the Packers’ Timex watch. He is in a tight battle with rookie Royce Newman, Ben Braden and Jon Runyan for both starting guard spots. Backup center Jake Hanson has taken practice snaps at guard as well as third string center Jacob Capra.
But remember, Patrick started 15 games last year. Patrick, 28, was an undrafted rookie by the Packers in 2016. He started a total of six games before last year and I would’ve understood if he would’ve been a little salty about having to go through all of that again. But that isn’t what makes Patrick tick.
“I love competition,” Patrick said earlier in camp. “I’m speaking as frankly as I can: I think the NFL is awesome because you have a healthy fear for your job. The scouts, they’re scouting people, they’re scouting thousands of college kids and scouting guys on different NFL teams and scouting guys who were free agents. I’ve had that mentality since day one. Like, it doesn’t matter if I’ve started 100 games, zero games, I’m going to approach it the same. It’s competition to me.”
Patrick played 928 of his 931 snaps last year at left and right guard. His two blemishes were allowing 13 hurries and a team-high three sacks.
Patrick started along with Jon Runyan at both guard positions in Green Bay’s preseason opener vs. Houston, but the running game couldn’t get out of idle. The Packers only tallied 2.3 yards per rush and the leading rusher in that game for the Packers was Dexter Williams with 32 yards.
“We just didn’t block very well,” said Packers coach Matt Lafleur after the game. “We couldn’t even get the runners going until late in that fourth quarter. It wasn’t necessarily mental assignments. It was the technique of our guys. That will certainly be stressed all week and it will be great to go against another opponent once we get into Wednesday and Thursday, just a different scheme, a different philosophy on this side of the ball.”
The most important thing for offensive line/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich is to find a unit with some continuity. Obviously, that’s hard because Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari is out, Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins didn’t play vs. Houston and seven-year veteran Billy Turner didn’t play vs. Houston either.
No matter how the preseason shakes out, you can count on Patrick maintaining his upbeat attitude as he continues to be the personification of perseverance.
You can measure a lot of things in sports. Yards, touchdowns, tackles and sacks are just a small sampling of stats you can gather in football. However, it’s what you cannot see that makes Patrick so valuable.
And it’s that ticking heart that will keep Patrick in the game.
Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on “Clubhouse Live” and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn