Conversion Attempt: Cordarrelle Patterson Finding a Fit

Cordarrelle Patterson is catching on to the nuances of playing running back in the NFL, like recognizing threats from the defense, blocking and knowing how the blocking schemes set up
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The Bears saw very early returns from their move of Cordarrelle Patterson to running back during Saturday's scrimmage at Soldier Field.

Now they wouldn't mind seeing the same thing in the season opener against Detroit.

Patterson recognized an opening to the right outside in the Bears' blocking scheme and it was like when he returns kicks, except without the kick. He exploded outside, made one cut and bolted down the sideline to score on a 25-yard run.

Patterson may have plenty to learn about being a running back yet, but he already has down who to credit for a touchdown run like any other back who scored.

"Like I said, it's just trusting the offensive linemen," Patterson said Monday during a Bears Zoom conference call. "They did a heck of a job covering everybody up and I want to say a tight end came over and set off the edge for me. It was just like a play that you can’t miss.

"Anybody could have ran this. Like I say, it just starts with that offensive line. They've been working their ass off this whole camp, man, with a new coach that’s trying to get each and every day. Those guys are a doing a hell of a job, man."

Patterson has to do more than compliment his linemen on occasion. He also has to trust them because the transition from being a wide receiver to playing running back is going to require him to learn this new ability many ball carriers already have from running inside against tough defensive fronts.

He mentioned it at the outside of training camp when he discussed running into the "A" gap or the "B" gap on the inside.

"First of all, it just start with trusting those big guys blocking for you," Patterson said. "Coach Juan (Castillo), he's doing a hell of a job after practice working with those guys and having us running backs come over there and seeing what those guys seeing.

"Every run don't have to be an outside run. Sometimes if the hole is in the middle, you just got to trust it, trusting those big five guys up front."

Patterson said he's seeing little difference between carrying the ball on runs in the backfield or returns, but there are some new details requiring his attention.

"It's just catching the ball and just going as fast as you can and trying to get a touchdown," Patterson said. "But fundamentally, it's just trying to work on my handoffs, and my footsteps and everything, being beside the quarterback, just trying to learn a lot."

The kick returner doesn't have to be prepared for all the possibilities a running back does.

"Because running back, I feel like you’re like a backup quarterback out there," Patterson said. "You've got to know Mike, Sam and Will (linebackers). You've got to know what front. You've got to know so much at the running back position. But at the end of the day, I just want to be on the football field, whatever I can do, I’m going to go out there and do it."

Patterson isn't about to call himself a full-time running back yet, if ever.

"I'm a full-time whatever coach needs me to be," he said. "Any time I'm out there on the field, I'm full-time whatever.

"I'm always on goal. So I don't limit myself to anything on the football field. Whatever coach needs me to do, I'm going to do–safety, running back, right guard, left guard–it don't matter, man. I just want to be out there on the football team helping my team win."

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