Cody Parkey’s struggles are no secret. And that he has a four-year contract that includes $9 million in guarantees doesn’t make his misfires (or the reaction to missed kicks) any easier to handle.
And yet, Parkey is taking it in stride by attempting to put a happy face on what has otherwise been a messy season.
“You calculate all the times I’ve kicked the ball this year, including extra points, which are 33-yard field goals essentially, I’ve kicked at 87 percent,” Parkey told Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s easy to look at and be like, ‘Oh, he’s done terrible this year.’ But I’ve kicked at 87 percent, which by no means is terrible, [although] it’s not where I want to be.”
Let the record show that the math is in Parkey’s favor. Add up all of Parkey’s kicks (field goal attempts and extra points) and he is 65-for-75. That’s 86.7 percent, which if you’re as into rounding up as I am, bumps the success rate up to 87 percent. The match checks out!
See! I told you it wasn’t that bad!
(OK, this is where I tell you the bad news. So brace yourselves.)
The most troublesome thing about Parkey’s problems are the missed kicks in areas where he was previously most proficient. Parkey has never owned a Sebastian Janikowski type of mega-leg, but he was nevertheless successful because accuracy on make-able kicks had always been his thing. He has missed more kicks from 30-39 yards out this year (3) than he did from 2014-17 (2) when he made 29 of 31 attempts. And one year after missing just one kick in the 40-49 range, Parkey has missed three such kicks this season with the Bears. No wonder a nervous murmur settles over the stadium whenever Parkey lines up to boot one.
As an optimist, I don’t want to give up on Parkey. He has a track record of success in previous stops and a Pro Bowl under his belt. But on the other hand, I hate having that feeling that the worst-case scenario – whatever it happens to be at that moment – is going to happen whenever Parkey and the special teams unit comes on. It’s like watching your favorite baseball team’s closer trotting in from the bullpen and not knowing whether or not he’ll have command of his pitches. It’s agonizing, to say the least.
But as a realist? *nervously tugs at shirt collar*
It has been an up-and-down year for Parkey, which is putting it nicely. Parkey connected on 81.3 percent of his kicks and hadn’t missed a PAT in his first eight games. But things started to unravel (to an extent) in Week 10. In his last eight games, Parkey has missed three extra-points (82.4% success rate) and four field goals (71.4% accuracy) and every miss unnerves Bears Twitter more than the previous one.
I suppose the good news is that Parkey is streaky and is due for a run of success. He made 9 of 10 kicks in his first four games before missing a potential game-winner at Miami in the fifth game of the season. After his disastrous game against the Lions, Parkey bounced back to make 9 of 10 field goals and all nine of his point-after touchdown attempts over the next five games. And even if you tack on the misses in the last few weeks, Parkey has made 83.3 percent of his field goals and 92.3 percent of his extra points.
So technically, it’s not all bad for Parkey. It’s just that things tend to go south in a hurry, which is tough to stomach.
But if anyone is going to pull themselves up from this it’s someone with Parkey’s mindset.
“I look at the positives every game, if I do bad [or] if I do good,” Parkey told Jahns. “That’s why I’m able to stand here in front of you today, five years into the NFL, still kicking.”