16 Comments

Position-by-Position at the Bye: Special Teams

| October 31st, 2014

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The following is part of a series of position-by-position breakdowns at the halftime point of the 2014 season.

Special teams must be taken element for element…

  • Robbie Gould has been steady.
  • Pat O’Donnell has shown flashes of being a superior punter. He’s a rookie so growing pains are expected and he needs to develop his short-punting game. But that leg, especially late in the year at Soldier Field, will be a weapon for this organization.
  • Mistakes have been rampant and mistakes, like it or not, get pinned on the coaching staff. In the case of the Bears, mistakes are far more the product of a constantly, in-flux bottom of the roster. No play summarized the error-prone ways of these Joe D units more than the brilliant P.O.D. punt covered about three seconds too early and subsequently returned for a touchdown in Carolina. It was a flash of brilliance, a terrible mistake and ultimately a lack of attention to detail causing the club six points.
  • At some point is the coaching staff going to convince the kick returners to stop taking the ball out of the end zone? I would hazard a guess this season’s collection of useless kick return men have cost the Bears upwards of a 100 yards of field position.
  • Santonio Holmes’ greatest contribution to the season has been not fumbling punts.
  • Strangely enough the Bears kickoff return against average is top ten in the league. Their punt return against average is bottom ten.

Grade: C

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  • beninnorcal

    They’ve been ‘Special’

  • Trac

    Unfortunately for special teams to be a difference maker during the games, a C is as good a a D. We need a dynamic returner. That is our Achilles heel.

    • Peanut FTW

      Personally the NFL has pretty much taken most of my desire for a great returner away. Between the limited # of KOs that are really returnable combined with all the holding or block in the back penalties or punt returns, I just want someone who won’t muff the damn thing. I would much rather have a couple of great gunners to clean up our punt coverage unit.
      Look at Devin, his biggest impact on a game this season came in a game that they won by over 40 points.

      • DaBearsBlog

        Parcells used the phrase “hidden yardage” and said, even when he coached the Giants, all he wanted was a punt returner who caught the ball. Because he’d studied it and said not catching punts would cost Giants 10-15 yards per punt. Holmes catches everything. Oddly enough, Hester lets a lot of balls hit the ground.

        And Hester letting the ball hit the ground is not really calculated statistically be anyone. Just as important as his 20 yard returns.

        • Hester was actually pretty awful last year, all things considered. Had a few big plays here and there, but cost them a ton of yardage refusing to fair catch punts and fumbled 4x in less than 80 touches.

        • Peanut FTW

          Yah, very rarely should they let it go, if it has a lower arch and your at your 10-15 or anything inside the 10, you let it go but otherwise the only real decision is to FC or not.

        • CanadaBear

          Also, lots of punters can kick the ball end over end and make it back up when they are trying to pin them inside the 10. This forces returners to catch those balls they used to let bounce OOB or into the end zone.

  • Jeff does love his punters.

  • “At some point is the coaching staff going to convince the kick returners to stop taking the ball out of the end zone”
    Seriously. If you’re more than 2 yards deep, you kneel. It’s not freaking rocket science.

    • Peanut FTW

      I don’t know that thats a hard rule if you have talent, but for our team that is a good rule of thumb.

    • CanadaBear

      At the very least do something different than try to run every return through the wedge.

  • Peanut FTW

    And not sure about Chicago specifically Jeff but about 2 hours west it was a high of 39 today and that was at midnight. Winds out of the NW gusting up to 40mph and a windchill in the teens today. Will be great fun trick or treating tonight.

    • CanadaBear

      Where I used to live there was always snow on the ground for Halloween (and again this year). Kids will just have to suck it up.

  • Bears-4-Ever

    “Special” = Riding the short bus, licking the glass. If it wasted for Robbie Gould the grade would be a “D-“.
    Our Special teams have stunk the last two years. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon since we have far more pressing issues to fix first.

    • Sactowns#1

      You forget Jeff’s obsession with punting.

  • Hasn’t Trest Way out played O’donnel Auto Parts this season?

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