The Bears’ special teams have been complicated over the past two seasons. They have made mistakes and they have had success but overall, they have been just about mediocre. After years of having great special teams (during the Lovie Smith era with Dave Toub) the Bears have been struggling to put a solid product on the field. It has hurt them just as much as the problems on offense and defense have.
The Bears special teams are ranked just below the middle of the pack by most experts. Their field goal and extra point kicking was ranked low while their kickoffs were rated well. For as many positive things were said about the punting units, the numbers don’t lie. Rankings have them as not doing as well as some had stated but punter Pat O’Donnell did do well pinning opponents deep in their own territory.
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Kick returns were weak while punt returns were ok. The slight “arrow up” in punt returns can be attributed to the short period the Bears had Eddie Royal as a return specialist. He was good but he just wasn’t available long enough to make a significant impact.
But, just like Loggains, management decided to retain the service of Rodgers for at least one more year. Can we expect more of the same out of the special teams in 2017?
The schemes of a special teams unit are devised by its coach but the execution is carried out by the players. Keep in mind that the players on special teams are typically the second and third string guys. Some of these guys were not very talented special teamers. Therefore, this unit struggled and Rodgers cannot be blamed for the issues with the talent he had to work with.
There are high hopes that Rodgers and his crew can turn things around and make the Bears third phase better in 2017. If he doesn’t then he might be gone at the end of next season. Just like the rest of the coaching staff, Rodgers is likely to be on a short leash and needs to start helping to put up wins. The losing is very getting old.