The Bears are doing what they can to make sure last season’s kicking disasters don’t happen again.
To give their current kicking candidates the ultimate test in being unnerved going up to kick a field goal, coach Matt Nagy and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor are implementing the “Augusta silence” during OTAs to make sure their kickers feel the pressure.
“No one talks,” Tabor said, via ESPN. “Obviously we’re doing the ‘Augusta silence’ [for a reason]. That’s been awesome. I am used to people yelling at me. You know, I’m used to, I mean my daughters and my wife will yell at me, so I’m used to it. But when it’s quiet out there it is, it is a different feeling. Nagy and I have talked about it … it’s different.”
During drills when a field goal is called, the entire field gets quiet to create an unsettling silence. The term comes from the rulebook at Augusta National for the Masters, when spectators and players alike are required to be silent while a golfer is playing.
“We’re creating as much pressure as we can on these guys,” Nagy said. “We’re getting the ‘Augusta silence’ out here with the team and that’s eerie.”
The Bears have actively been looking for a new kicker after cutting Cody Parkey, who needed to make a field goal during the playoffs against the Eagles to keep the Bears’ season alive.
Instead, Parkey’s last-second kick ricocheted off both goal posts and caused the Bears to lose, 16-15. He was released by Chicago shortly after.
Now the team has their choice narrowed down to Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro, who was traded from the Raiders.
However, Nagy admitted the team doesn’t have a time table for selecting a kicker and said he was hoping one kicker would break away by the end of minicamp.
“Honestly, we have not figured that out yet,” Nagy said. “We wanted to get through, get right into the end of minicamp and just kind of get back collectively and talk about it, collaborate. But we’re kind of up in the air. We’re trying to let this thing play out. The more kicks we have, the more of a library we have.”
Tabor added that the team “definitely” will have someone for their season opener against the Packers, which happens to be the first Thursday night game of the season.