Versatile Packers lineman Lucas Patrick emphasizing availability in face of risks

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GREEN BAY - When players returned to their respective facilities under the new COVID-19 safety protocols, the NFL gave them some options regarding facial protections to avoid having to share breathing space with teammates and opponents.

It was up to each player, however, if they would want to use them.

Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Lucas Patrick elected to try out the Oakley visor and mouth shield, but after a short time he ditched the visor. He has, however, kept the clear plastic covering that is attached to his face mask.

“I think this season the best ability is availability,” said Patrick, who can play center and guard. “Just knowing my role, what I’ve been through in camp is rotating on the inside three of the line. If something happens, I’d rather be the guy who’s available, taking it serious and being safe. Not to shed light on it, or tread lightly or whatever, but we’re at a higher risk playing O-line and D-line. So I just want to protect myself and protect my teammates.”

Guard Lucas Patrick (62) during Green Bay Packers training camp at Ray Nitschke Field Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Ashwaubenon, Wis.

He said he has not experienced any issues with the shield through the three weeks of practice, either.

“Nobody around me has said they can’t hear me,” he said. “I’m a mouth breather anyway, so I don’t think it’s going to affect me too much. First few days I had the full shield with the Oakley visor and the, don’t know if it’s a PPE, however you say it, the other face shield. I didn’t like the visor, I’ve never really been a visor guy. So once we took that off to get a little more air in the helmet, I don’t notice a difference, besides when I try to drink water. I’ve sprayed the shield a few times.”

Injury issues

Coach Matt LaFleur alluded Sunday to some injuries that forced him to cut the final 2-minute drill out of the scrimmage at Lambeau Field.

On Monday, he admitted that some of those players won’t be practicing Wednesday (after Tuesday's day off), although he declined to identify any of the injured.

“That’s kind of what we’re working through right now,” LaFleur said. “I don’t want to give all of it away. But certainly there’s a couple guys that won’t be out there, unfortunately, and we’ve got to try to get them back as quickly as possible.”

One possibility is right tackle Billy Turner, who dropped out of the practice with an apparent foot or ankle injury. Turner returned, but it’s possible the injury got worse overnight.

Outside linebacker Rashan Gary banged his hand during one of the series, but he continued to practice. There were no other obvious injuries that took place in the 2-hour, 15-minute practice.

The team didn’t practice Monday and is off Tuesday. LaFleur is expected to hold practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The cut down to 53 is Saturday.

Evaluating the scrimmage

LaFleur said his film review validated some of the thoughts he had coming off the field.

“There were a lot of great plays on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I think I knew that yesterday, and you just want to go back and make sure guys are on top of the little details. There were some certain situational things on both sides of the ball that we definitely have to clean up prior to our first game.”

One area he thought was very good was the pass rush.

There were defensive players around the quarterbacks a lot during the scrimmage and while not all of them would have recorded sacks, he was pleased to see the pressure.

“There were a couple times there were definitely going to be some quarterback hits, if not sacks, and you don’t get to necessarily see that when the quarterbacks are off limits and they’re not getting hit,” LaFleur said. “So, overall with the pass rush, I was pretty pleased with it.”

Throwing the book at them

With Za’Darius and Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and Tim Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, rookie Jonathan Garvin has learned a lot about pass rushing the past three weeks.

At the University of Miami, the seventh-round pick didn’t have a signature pass rush move while totaling 12½ sacks in three seasons. He used a little bit of everything and he said being around the veterans has helped him add to his repertoire.

“I had a small arsenal,” said Garvin, who at 6-4, 257 pounds is trying to make the transition from end to outside linebacker. “Really, getting ready for the draft, learning from guys and then coming in here and seeing what’s going on here, it’s different moves – moves I hadn’t even thought about.

"But it’s more than having a super-large inventory of moves, it’s reacting to certain blocks in certain ways.”

Garvin has his hands full trying to make the 53-man roster, given the Packers only kept four outside rushers last year and three of them are back. His competition is veteran Tim Williams, Randy Ramsey and rookie Tipa Galeai.

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