Friday wasn’t a day of good first impressions for the kickers competing at the Bears’ weekend mini-camp. Of the eight players who lined up from 43 yards away in an attempt to re-create Cody Parkey’s missed field goal on Wild-Card Weekend, only two split the uprights with successful tries.
It was a rough start that immediately led to headlines such as this:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) May 5, 2019
YIKES! Those aren’t the types of headlines you want to read in May (or at any time, for that matter).
But hey, everyone knows that each day can bring a clean slate and fresh start for anyone who wants or needs it. And it appears as if some progress was made during Day 2 of the weekend mini-camp:
#Bears kicked from 42 yards to end practice today. Their 8 kickers went 6-for-8. Redford Jones and John Baron II missed
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) May 4, 2019
With John Baron II being one of the two kickers who missed from 42 yards out on Saturday, it leaves Spencer Evans as the only kicker who nailed both of his first two distance kicks. That is certainly one way to make a positive impression on a coaching staff in search of a kicker – especially if you’re in camp on a tryout basis. And while it’s probably too early to set a favorite in the competition, connecting on the two kicks with manufactured pressure could be something that helps his cause.
Evans doesn’t have a spectacular college profile. He went 8-for-11 on field goal tries last year with a long of 49, and didn’t have a ton of PAT attempts (but made 16 of 17). And it’s not as if Purdue has a history of sending kickers to the pros. But it’s not about what you did in the past, it’s about what you can do for the Bears moving forward.
Overall, the Bears’ tryout kickers going 6 of 8 sends better vibes than when the group collectively finished the previous day having made 2 of 8. But “better” isn’t enough for a team coming off a 12-win season and division title that has real Super Bowl aspirations. And while simple math shows a 75 percent success rate is better than 25 percent, remember that Parkey made 75 percent of his kicks between 40-49 in 2018, which wasn’t nearly as good as his 2017 showing in which he made 85.7 percent of those attempts. Sometimes “good” isn’t enough when better is needed.