Special Teams Optimism is a Thing I Have Right Now and Other Bullets

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Special Teams Optimism is a Thing I Have Right Now and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Spending a couple of days in Green Bay for a wedding really has me wishing football season was a tad bit closer than what it is now. As it stands, we’re looking at 13 days until training camp’s first public practice, 14 days until the first practice with pads, 25 days until the Hall of Fame Game, and 63 days until the lid-lifter against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Patience, my friends. If you can wait through three years of John Fox offenses, then I believe you can wait through anything.

  • During the wedding party’s brief visit to Lambeau Field, I stopped inside the Packers gift shop (and yes, I’m living to talk about it) and had to stop for a moment because I noticed they were showing a replay of a Vikings-Falcons game where Mike Vick ran all over them in an overtime win. I don’t know if that’s just great timing or next-level trolling. Either way, it was kind awesome.
  • Seriously, how awesome is this run?

  • (Also, happy wedding to Craig and Amber! I’m sure one of you will get around to reading this, if only for the #VikingsLose highlights above.)
  • Moving on to the Bears and the optimistic vibes of a time of year where hope springs eternal, I’m really digging this Allen Robinson quote from Larry Mayer’s position group preview regarding Matt Nagy’s offense: “It’s something that just looked fun to play in. Watching what coach Nagy did in Kansas City, I think it has a lot of versatility that I can be used in many different ways in this offense. I’ll be able to play inside, outside, have some deep shots, worth the short game and things like that.”
  • I can’t remember a player from outside the Bears’ organization coming in and announcing the Bears’ offense being a fit for him and not immediately wondering “How, Sway?” Nagy doesn’t have much tape under his belt, but there was enough for Robinson  to commit to the Bears and leave the Jaguars and other suitors in their dust.
  • Remember when the Bears beat the Packers out for Robinson’s services? We do. It’s not every day when a premier free agent rolls the dice and chooses a team like the Bears over someone with an established reputation like that of Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. Here’s hoping Robinson’s wager pays off for him, the Bears, and Mitch Trubisky.
  • My general feelings of optimism have spilled over to the Bears’ special teams unit. Still, I must say I miss Robbie Gould more than I ever would have expected:

  • Optimism and special teams? You better believe it. Place kicker Cody Parkey was one of the Bears’ headiest signings of the offseason. While the additions of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller will help move the offense in the right direction, not having someone who can reliably put the ball through the uprights can be a real kick in the shin. There are few things as demoralizing as seeing your team march down the field, only to have a kicker miss an opportunity to end the drive with points. This was especially frustrating the last few seasons when the Bears’ offense didn’t muster enough sustained drives to overcome a missed field goal. Hopefully, Parkey will make us forget about those days.
  • But seriously, how great was Robbie Gould when he was with the Bears?

  • Elsewhere, the training camp punting derby is one of the summer battles that could go deep into the preseason. Incumbent Pat O’Donnell has a strong, reliable, and experienced leg … and a perfect passer rating. And even though O’Donnell received interest from a few teams looking for a punter this last offseason, he ended up re-signing with the Bears on a one-year deal. The short-term contract suggests that O’Donnell’s future with the team could be on thin ice. While there has been an obvious focus on the changes on the offensive coaching staff, the Bears also have a brand new crew of special teams coaches. We don’t know what they’re looking for in particular special teamers just yet, but I suppose we’ll learn something by the time the preseason wraps up.
  • O’Donnell’s competition comes in the form of Ryan Winslow, an undrafted rookie out of Pittsburgh who happened to be one of the best available punters in the draft. Let’s check out some highlights:

  • And some views from his Pro Day at Pitt:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.