The Chicago Bears’ search for Cody Parkey’s replacement has officially extended into deep waters:
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) April 5, 2019
The Bears are hosting a tryout featuring the best kickers from the faltering Alliance of American Football League, which suspended operations earlier in the week. We have been tracking the league’s kickers because we figured Chicago’s front office would leave no stone un-turned in their hunt for Parkey’s replacement, and it appears as though the Bears are aiming for the top of the AAF’s leaderboard. Good thinking, guys!
Nick Rose and Younghoe Koo are reportedly trying out at Halas Hall. Elliott Fry, another standout from the AAF, could also get a look from the Bears as their search continues. Rose, Koo, and Fry led the league with 42 points scored. And most important of all, none of the three possible Bears targets missed during their time in the AAF. Impressive stuff, all things considered.
Rose might be the best of the bunch. Or at least he had the best performance among the Alliance’s best kickers. Rose went 14-for-14 during his run in the league, with a pair of 50-yarders (including one from 54) highlighting his time San Antonio. Before joining the AAF, Rose was the Los Angeles Chargers’ kickoff specialist for the team’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.
Koo scored the first points in the league’s history and also connected on 14-of-14 attempts. HOWEVER, it’s worth pointing out that all off Koo’s attempts were from 39 yards out or less. Koo has some NFL experience under his belt after winning the Chargers job, but early struggles knocked him out of the league momentarily. It’s quite possible his time kicking in Atlanta will put him back on some NFL team’s radar.
And then there is Fry, who, like Koo and Rose, also made all 14 of his attempted field goals. Trippy! Fry kicked for the high-scoring Orlando bunch that was coached by Steve Spurrier, so there was no shortage of opportunities. Fry went 6-for-6 on attempts between 20-29 yards, nailed 4 of 4 kicks from 30-39 yards away, and was successful on each of the four kicks he tried that landed in the 40-49 yard range. Considering the Bears’ season ended because of a missed 43-yard try and extra points are now taken from 33 yards away from the goal posts, I reckon accuracy in those two specific areas is going to be something the Bears’ brass is looking for in their next kicker.
This isn’t the Bears’ first tryout and I can’t imagine it will be their last. Previous tryouts have resulted in the team signing Redford Jones and Chris Blewitt to the kicking competition. But don’t expect GM Ryan Pace to stop there, as he has opened himself to expanding the competition to go beyond two kickers – which is how these competitions traditionally go.
Because this position has been something of a bug-a-boo for Pace and the Bears, the expectation is that they’ll continue to try players who could be fits. It’s a bold strategy that has been endorsed by special teams guru Dave Toub and could pay off as it did for Toub when he unearthed Robbie Gould.