Jan 14, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Blake Costanzo (51) raises his arms before a play against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park. San Francisco defeated New Orleans 36-32. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Bears Shore Up Special Teams with Signings of Costanzo and Weems


After making the big splash with the Brandon Marshall trade and shoring up the #2 quarterback spot with Jason Campbell, the Bears decided to help Special Teams coach Dave Toub by adding a couple of aces in Blake (George) Costanzo and Eric Weems.  Both are primarily special teams guys who will provide depth to the defense and offense respectively.  Let’s get the scoop on each on the other side.

Blake Costanzo (or George as I’ll refer to him on this site) is a core special teams ace by day and backup linebacker by night.  The Bears targeted him when they realized they wouldn’t be able to re-sign Pro Bowler Corey Graham.

[The Bears] successfully landed the veteran linebacker Tuesday night, adding him to the mix as a top special teams player. He finished second on the San Francisco 49ers with 17 tackles on special teams this past season, and added four more in postseason competition. He came up big in the 49ers’ playoff upset of the New Orleans Saints, forcing one fumble on special teams and recovering another.

The 27-year-old was developed by Brad Seely, following him from Cleveland to San Francisco, and is considered one of the better core special teams performers in the league. According to his agent David Canter, it’s a two-year contract.

He’ll be a solid contributor for Dave Toub but I doubt he does much on defense unless it’s an emergency.

Jan 08 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems (14) returns the kickoff against the New York Giants during the second half of the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at the MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-US PRESSWIRE

The Bears also added former Falcons special teams ace Eric Weems, who doubles as a kick returner and wide receiver.  Maybe signing him is a sign that last season’s primary kick returner Johnny Knox is not progressing in his rehab as well as we hoped from the horrific back injury he suffered against the Seahawks in Week 15.  I’ve heard him called the “Sam Hurd replacement” but I’m hoping he’s got a cleaner rap sheet.   Here’s what we could expect from Weems:

Weems comes from the Atlanta Falcons, where he played wide receiver, special teams and was a returner. He has some versatility as a return man and the Bears may want to add some depth there, considering Devin Hester was hobbled with multiple injuries for about half of last season and wide receiver Johnny Knox is rehabilitating from spinal surgery.

Weems joined the Falcons in 2007 as an undrafted free agent from Bethune-Cookman. The 26-year-old averaged 27.5 yards on kickoff returns in 2010 and has a career average of 10.6 yards on punt returns. He started two games at wide receiver last season and caught a career-high 11 passes for 90 yards.

Like Hurd, don’t expect him to do much on the offensive side of the ball but you can expect to see him fill Corey Graham’s gunner role.