Chicago Bears mid-season report card

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Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Special teams — D

The Chicago Bears’ special teams has not been so special. The unit has put the Bears in some difficult positions. They have given up three touchdown returns this season, third-most in the NFL. The unit itself has yet to score one.

The Bears special teams unit ranks 13th in the league in kickoff returns average (24.7 yards per return). On punts, they rank 20th, averaging eight yards per return.

Opponents have gotten big chunks of yards against the Bears special teams. On kickoff returns, the Bears have give up an average of 29.7 yards per return, second-most in the NFL.

Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers is on the hot seat, at least to outsiders. He was the first person hired by Fox, and Fox is standing by him.

“He’s definitely a very capable coach. I don’t have any concerns in that area,” Fox said recently when asked about Rodgers.

In order for the Bears to turn things around, the special teams has to 1– pin the opponents deep, and 2– give the Bears offense some great field position.

Robbie Gould started out like gangbusters, making 17 consecutive field goals. Now, however, he has missed his last three. It would not be a concern except that last season he had the worst field goal percentage in his career.

To go along with the missed field goals, Gould’s kickoffs have been bad. He ranks 29th in the league in kickoff yards with an average of 61.1 per kick. He also ranks 24th in touchbacks, with just 19.

The short kickoffs give the returner a better chance at getting a long return or a touchdown. Two of the three special teams touchdowns allowed were on kickoffs. There is something about a special teams score that gives a team momentum. It gets the entire team an extra pep.

Even with the three consecutive misses, Gould is still very accurate at 85 percent. But the team must take a close look at Gould and decide if they go for another kicker next season.

Next: What is the final grade?