After seeing their Super Bowl dreams die on Wild Card Weekend all because Bears are entering the upcoming season with the kicker position as their biggest question mark. An assortment of no-name kickers -- including one named Chris Blewitt -- are currently competing for the job after, the
The competition is off to an awful, but fitting start.
As The Athletic's Adam Jahns reported, Bears coach Matt Nagy had eight kickers all attempt field goals from exactly 43 yards out at rookie minicamp on Friday. Combined, they went 2 for 8.
We got our first glimpse at Matt Nagy’s kicking competition for the #Bears at rookie minicamp. With the entire team watching, each kicker had one shot from 43 yards out — the same distance that Cody Parkey missed from against the Eagles in the playoffs. 6 misses.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 3, 2019
Matt Nagy says he wants to “put a little heat” on them. “2-for-8, that’s not good enough,” he said, acknowledging that the snap and holds weren’t good on some.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 3, 2019
“They know loud-and- clear why” the kick is from 43 yards out, Nagy said.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 3, 2019
This is why they're kicking from 43 yards out:
Regardless of how and why Parkey missed, the Bears have a kicking problem. That much is undisputed. In truth, they've had one ever since they made the decision to cut Robbie Gould before the 2016 season. Over the past three seasons, the Bears' kickers have made 76 percent of their field goals in regular season games only. In that span, Gould made 96.5 percent of his field goals with the Giants and 49ers.
The easiest solution to the Bears' problem might be finding a way to bring Gould back, but even that solution is problematic given the 49ers control Gould's football future. Gould was this offseason, but he has since The 49ers have said they won't honor his request. Like the Bears, the 49ers are eyeing the playoffs and they can't get there without a dependable kicking game. If the Bears made a good-enough offer for a 36-year-old kicker, they might be able to get the 49ers to agree to send him back to Chicago. But it's not clear if the Bears, who have been short on draft picks, would be willing to overpay for a kicker.
The best available kicker in free agency is Matt Bryant, who has made 90.7 percent of his field goals over the past three seasons, but has had the luxury of kicking indoors for the Falcons. Kicking in Chicago at Soldier Field is an entirely different beast. Bryant will turn 44 later this month, but has said he doesn't intend to retire. He's also an option -- probably a better (though more expensive) one than the ones currently on the Bears' roster.
Either way, even though the Bears' decision to pay Parkey big money a year ago backfired in the worst possible way, they might want to throw more resources (draft capital or money) at a problem that otherwise might end up being their undoing again in 2019.