After a weekend of tryouts and manufactured pressure, the Chicago Bears are as close as ever to replacing their former kicker Cody Parkey. The team has narrowed down their choices to just two kickers.
But that number was a lot bigger on Friday.
Coach Matt Nagy had eight kickers working at rookie minicamp, four under contract and four brought in for tryouts. And to make sure all of them knew the stakes, Nagy began by showing them the video of Parkey’s infamous 43-yard tipped field goal attempt that double-doinked off the posts and ended the Bears’ season and playoff hopes.
Inspiring, right? Nothing like reminding the guys applying for the job what happened to the guy who had it before: he missed an important kick and was essentially run out of town.
It didn’t get better from there, at least not immediately. The spirit of Parkey’s blown field goal must have been visiting with the Bears, because Nagy lined up all eight kickers from 43 yards and told them to send the ball through the posts. Only two of the eight made it.
Not the great start anyone was hoping for, but it got better from there. The finale of the weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune, was a head-to-head competition between roster spot signee Redford Jones, representing the offensive players in minicamp, and Casey Bednarski, representing the defensive players. Losers had to do 25 down-ups on the field. Jones and Bednarski both made field goals from 32 and 43 yards, but only Bednarski made it from 48 yards. Jones and the offense had to pay the price, while Bednarski did a standing backflip to celebrate.
But the head-to-head competition (and that backflip) wasn’t enough to keep either Jones or Bednarski around. After a weekend of kick after kick after kick, of measuring distance and wind speed and finding ways to manufacture pressure, the Bears saw potential in two of the eight: Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry. Jones and John Baron II were both waived, and Justin Yoon, Spencer Evans, Emmit Carpenter, and Bednarski were not offered contracts.
Blewitt and Fry will presumably compete for the job in July when the entire team reports to training camp. But even with the number down to two, Nagy isn’t sure the whole rigamarole will produce a kicker who could be the Bears’ Week 1 starter.
“I feel strongly that it will happen, but again, I don’t know,” Nagy told the Chicago Tribune. “There’s so many things that can go on between now and the start of the season, that I wish I could tell you I knew this was going to happen. But I really honestly don’t have an answer for you on that.”
Yup. Nagy admitted that after having eight whole kickers in minicamp, he’s not sure if any of them will be with the team at the start of the season. The Double Doink is going to haunt the Bears for years.
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