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Bears coach Matt Nagy, RB Cordarrelle Patterson finally starting to fit

Nagy didn’t seem to know how to use Patterson last season, but he figured something out going into this one. Patterson’s dangerous running ability has been valuable in the Bears’ recommitment to the run.

Patterson is halfway to the number of touches he got last season (28) after just two games.
For the Sun-Times

Given that Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most unique players in football, it’s no surprise that he has added something uncommon to the Bears’ running game.

The move from wide receiver to running back, which he also played for the Patriots in 2018, has been smooth for Patterson. He has a modest 44 yards on 11 carries, but his bruising running style — he has the size of a tight end at 6-2, 238 pounds — is an ideal complement to David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen.

“He brings that combination of speed and power every time he touches the football — you feel that,” coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘You all see it when he plants that foot in the ground on some of those runs and he hits that hole really fast.”

Nagy often seemed uncertain on how to use Patterson last season.

He has a career average of 7.3 yards per carry and gave the Bears 6.6 yards per touch in 2019, but his role was small and unclear. He had seven games of fewer than 10 snaps on offense and totaled 17 carries and 17 targets (11 catches).

Patterson lamented, “Twenty-eight touches is not enough,” for a player with his abilities, and Nagy agreed. He already is halfway to that number heading into the game in Atlanta on Sunday.

“It’s fun, man,” Patterson said. “I love getting the ball and just running. I remember last week, one of the big boys from the Giants tried to tackle me, and he said, ‘You run hard, bro. You’re hard to tackle.’ That’s what I’m going for, man. I’m just trying to run through a wall if I can.”

Confidence in Trevathan

After re-signing with the Bears for three years and $21.8 million, inside linebacker Danny Trevathan’s season is off to a rough start. He was at the center of a blown coverage that nearly cost the team its season opener, and his playing time was cut to 48% of the defensive snaps against the Giants.

But the Bears aren’t writing him off yet. He was the team’s leading tackler when he went down with a dislocated elbow last season and has been one of its most reliable players since arriving in 2016.

“No worries about Danny,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “He’s going to be out there on Sunday; he’s going to play really, really good. He’s going to play fast, and he’s going to be effective. He’s going to help us win that game.”

Defensive tackle swap

The Bears put defensive tackle John Jenkins on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his thumb and signed longtime Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers to replace him. McCullers is expected to practice Friday and be available against the Falcons.

Jenkins played 34% of the defensive snaps over the first two games and had two tackles. With the new IR rules, he is eligible to return for the Week 6 game against the Panthers.

McCullers, 28, played 73 games (three starts) in his six seasons with the Steelers and played 12% of their defensive snaps last season.

Mack update

The Bears are being extremely cautious with Khalil Mack, who rarely missed practice last season. He was limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury that has bothered him all season.