Bears rookie punter faces daunting challenge

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear

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    Directional punting in pros negates strong leg some as Way attempts to depose Podlesh

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    9:59 p.m. CDT, August 3, 2013

    The challenge for Tress Way is formidable because he doesn't just have to outperform veteran Adam Podlesh to win the punting job, he has to do so in a landslide.

    Coaches always feel more comfortable with veterans, especially when you're talking about specialists, and Podlesh is a proven performer who has posted the two best seasons in club history in net average the past two years.

    Podlesh's net was 40.4 yards in 2011 and a strong finish to last season brought him to 39.4. He's an experienced directional punter and Way, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma, is working to learn that craft because NCAA rules allow the entire coverage team to head downfield on the snap.

    "I've had a strong leg for a while and Coach (Bob) Stoops said, 'You just bomb it and we'll cover it,'" Way said. "I would be launching balls but this is a different game.

    "Being a rookie you want to drop some jaws but most of all you just have to be consistent and trustworthy because that is what it all comes down to. I've been learning from Pods … doing the directional punt that we do, trying to get my game better at that."

    Way admitted he was too amped up early in camp and in an effort to blast the ball he was inconsistent.

    "Luckily Robbie (Gould) and Devin Hester have been so cool, talking to me every day," Way said. "Robbie was talking to me and he said, 'Physically, you're ready.' But it is such a different game from college to the pros mentally. Just being smart on the field and knowing your situation. It has been a huge learning experience but also while competing for a job you have to learn fast so that you can apply it"

    It will be interesting to see how the team decides to divide reps during exhibitions. Challenger Ryan Quigley had 16 last summer but that was skewed because Podlesh missed two games with a hip flexor injury.

    Finding his way: Second-round pick Jon Bostic is getting as much notice as anyone during training camp, especially with his opportunity to play with the starters in the absence of D.J. Williams, who is sidelined with a right calf muscle injury and likely will miss Friday's exhibition opener at Carolina.

    Fourth-round draft pick Khaseem Greene also is making the adjustment, getting his work with the second team on the weak side.

    "Mentally, I feel great," Greene said. "I have Lance (Briggs) in front of me who knows everything. He's definitely teaching me and pushing me to be my best. It feels good to be behind somebody I can count on to help me with my corrections."

    Greene dropped some pounds to get down to his listed weight of 241 after the offseason program. He plays fast and that is one of the reasons the Bears like him. He is a former safety who should play with good range.

    "(In camp,) I know there is no pressure to be exactly right," Greene said. "As long as you are playing 100 percent fast, the corrections will be made in the meeting room. Then it's on you not to make the same mistake twice."

    Sore spot: If the Bears expect any injuries to defensive linemen from Saturday night's practice at Soldier Field to linger, general manager Phil Emery could seek help on the street.

    End Julius Peppers, unquestionably the most important player on the defense, left and had ice wrapped on his right hamstring. The good news is he didn't appear to be in pain and the injury isn't believed to be serious.

    Rookie end Cornelius Washington sprained his left elbow during a one-on-one pass rushing drill going against tight end Leonard Pope, who was signed earlier Saturday. He will be evaluated further.

    The good news is Corey Wootton was back at practice two days after suffering a hip injury. Jamaal Anderson, signed at the start of camp, has missed nearly a week with a sore right knee.

    Extra points: Wide receiver Earl Bennett was removed from practice to be evaluated for a concussion. He suffered one against the Seahawks last season. Fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery was taken out of practice with a tight hamstring. … Cornerback Isaiah Frey got work with the starters as the nickel back as Kelvin Hayden left the field and had ice wrapped on his left leg. His setback was the most serious of the night as he's week-to-week with a hamstring strain. … Left tackle Jermon Bushrod (right calf) and offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (right knee) were still out. … Hester ran one punt back all the way — there is no tackling — and tossed the football into the north grandstand. … The estimated crowd at Soldier Field was 29,000. …

    The players are off Sunday and the next practice is at 3:15 p.m. Monday at Olivet Nazarene University.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...4-bits-bears-chicago-20130804,0,1197877.story
  2. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    If he could beat out Podlesh that's great. Let's save a few bucks with cheaper players.
  3. short faced bear

    short faced bear

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    I'm hoping DeCamillis can bring Podlesh back to what he was. If he can't and the competing punter is close to him talent wise, I wouldn't mind taking a chance on a new punter esp. with a revamped offense and stout defense.

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