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Midseason Marks: Special Teams

| November 2nd, 2017

The DBB team is evaluating the entire organization at this well-placed, exactly midseason bye week. The catch? Each of us is limited to ONE SENTENCE for each position group. Today we switch to special teams.


Connor Barth

Jeff: Yes, the cupboard is bare at wide receiver due to injury but it’s been at kicker (and Mike Glennon) where the Bears have displayed their most glaring evaluative weakness.

Andrew: Barth just isn’t getting the job done.

Data: Connor Barth is terrible, but that’s something we’ve known since before he signed with the Bears 15 months ago.

DBB Grade: D


Pat O’Donnell

Jeff: Yes, I spend way too much time thinking about and studying punters but POD has improved his directional kicking, hang time and placement in 2017.

Andrew: Pat O’Donnell just might be having the best year of his career.

Data: Pat O’Donnell is quietly having a nice year and should be brought back when his contract expires after the season.

DBB Grade: B+


Coverage Units

Jeff: Worth noting that the only time these units have struggled was when Sherrick McManis – one of the most underrated players in the league – went out with injury against Baltimore. (I’d like to also reiterate my statement that it’s insane a man named Sherrick McManis is a black football player and not a fiddle player from Galway City.)

Andrew: Largely due to a return from Baltimore, the Bears are third worst in terms of punt return average.

Data: Outside of a terrible game against Baltimore, it seems like these have been pretty solid this year, a sign of the improved depth on the roster.

DBB Grade: B


Return Units

Jeff: Tarik Cohen profiles as a terrific punt returner but the results certainly are not showing, leading me to wonder if the Bears shouldn’t put someone back there with a more downhill approach to the return game. 

Andrew: The numbers aren’t flashy, but Tarik Cohen seems destined to break a long return for a touchdown soon.

Data: Tarik Cohen has provided the occasional big play, albeit with a few rookie mistakes sprinkled in as well.

DBB Grade: C


Coaching

Jeff: Special teams coaching is all about managing the bottom of the roster and while Jeff Rodgers has done an admirable job of that, there’s not a single “special” element of these units.

Andrew: Specials aren’t killing the team, so I guess he’s doing the job.

Data: There have been key special teams mistakes 3 weeks in a row, a clear indictment on the coaching.

DBB Grade: C

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