As the Chicago Bears’ search for a kicker has evolved, so have the methods of evaluation.
Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor provided an update to the team’s kicking situation during a press conference with the assembled media at Halas Hall. During his time in front of the mics, Tabor explained a new way the team is trying to turn up the heat on the specialists trying to kick their way onto the roster by using no words whatsoever.
“No one talks. It would be like this,” Tabor said before standing in silence for a few seconds before resuming his press conference. “It’s that quiet, honestly.”
The Bears are quite literally putting their kickers through the silent treatment in order to give the team’s evaluators another way in which to study the competition’s participants.
Tabor introduced the concept of “Augusta Silence” as an approach to create a pressure-filled environment for kickers Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry, and Eddy Piñeiro. The idea is rooted in the great game of golf with a reference to how quiet it gets at Augusta National during the Masters. And while NFL kickers will never attempt a kick in eerily quiet conditions, the power of silence can be as strong as a deafening stadium environment.
The Bears have insisted on taking a no stones un-turned approach to this thing, and have gone out of their way to make things more interesting than an offseason kicking competition should be. In just this offseason, the team has hired a kicking consultant, had eight tryout kickers attempt to boot one through from Cody Parkey range, implemented kick-tracking technology, and used narrower goal-posts to test accuracy.
Kudos to the Bears for being diligent, thorough, and creative in their search. I applaud them for their efforts. But at some point, just find the right guy and get him geared up for Week 1 against Green Bay.
Tabor had other thoughts on the Bears’ special teams unit, which you can check out in the video embedded below: