So a kicker, punter, and long-snapper walked into a bar Halas Hall for tryouts…
… I hope you aren’t awaiting a punchline, because it’s not coming.
According to SI.com’s Albert Breer, the Chicago Bears hosted Kai Forbath, Ryan Anderson, and Andrew DePaola for tryouts on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Brad Biggs of the Tribune reports the tryout is scheduled for Wednesday. If it goes well, the Bears could make a move ahead of Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers. Chicago could stick with Santos for another week, but the least the organization could do was check out the alternatives.
Forbath, 33, is the most notable name on the tryout list. He has 81 games of kicking experience with Washington, Minnesota, Dallas, Jacksonville, New Orleans, and New England. The results have been mostly good. Forbath has an 86.8 percent success rate on field goals, leading the league in accuracy in 2012 (94.4%) and 2016 (100%). Since the start of the 2017 season, Forbath has made 87 percent of his kicks. What’s notable about that recent trend is that four of his seven misses have come from 50+ yards. Or in other words, he has been money (for the most part) from inside the 50. There aren’t too many Bears kickers who can say the same in recent years.
Ultimately, this is pretty significant movement for a few reasons. For starters, it’s clear that Eddy Piñeiro isn’t ready to return from IR — even after the requisite minimum three weeks had come and gone. Secondly, it’s a sign the team isn’t all that happy with the overall special teams performance. Even after making his only kick on Sunday against the Colts, Cairo Santos has made just 71.4 percent of his field goals this season and has just a 69.2 percent success rate since 2017. Not nice.
Punter Patrick O’Donnell and long-snapper Pat Scales haven’t done anything to sound the alarm about making changes at their respective positions. However, I imagine seeing a punter and long-snapper in for tryouts puts them on notice. Otherwise, I’m convinced DePaola (who was with the Bears when Scales was on IR in 2017) and Anderson were brought in to snap and hold while the team took a good look at Forbath.