By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) Adam Podlesh knew the situation as soon as he walked off the playing surface Sunday at Ford Field.
“I kind of understood after what I put out there on the field in Detroit that I basically said to myself I wouldn’t be surprised if they were going to look at what was out on the market,” the Bears punter said Wednesday.
Sure enough, six punters were at Halas Hall Tuesday trying out.
The Bears notified Podlesh of the tryout, which he appreciated, but he hasn’t been reassured of his place on the team.
“I haven’t been told anything other than the fact that they haven’t signed anybody so that’s a bit of an indicator there, but regardless of the situation I’m not going to really ask questions or whatnot, I’m just going to do my job as best I can,” he said.
For now, the Bears will stick with Podlesh, but clearly they have put him on notice, which is something they had to do last season when they brought in punters for a tryout in November.
“Been through it before which is good having that experience, I guess, even though you don’t want to go through that,” Podlesh said.
So what exactly is the problem right now with Podlesh’s punting?
“Bad mechanics, bad swing thought, there’s a few things that I’ve kind of looked into that I’ve kind of helped rectify the situation a little bit,” he said.
Podlesh added that the hip flexor injury that hampered him last year is not an issue.
“It’s more timing than anything else,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said. “I think he just got off on timing, so we’ll keep working at it. He worked today. We’ll keep going from there. There’s nobody who wants it more for him than me. And there’s nobody that wants it more for all of us than Adam, so we’re going to keep working and keep getting better.”
Williams To Work On Nickel?
New middle linebacker D.J. Williams has been one of the Bears’ best players on defense. So why has he seen so little playing time?
The Bears have been stuck in a lot of nickel personnel the last two weeks, which has left Williams on the bench. Sunday, he only played 23 defensive snaps — about a third of the total defensive snaps.
Thus, don’t be surprised to see the Bears find ways to get him on the field more. Before Williams was hurt at the beginning on training camp, he was the second nickel linebacker next to Lance Briggs and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker hinted Wednesday that Williams could see some nickel reps going forward.
“He can play in the nickel package,” Tucker said. “We repped him in there and we would like to get him in there as well. So we’ll just see how the game plays out, how the game-plan unfolds. But he’s a guy that we feel good about in the game in base or nickel.”
The problem is, James Anderson has played well in nickel too and he’s been the Bears’ best linebacker in pass coverage. So maybe he’ll split some reps with Williams on nickel, but the best way to get Williams on the field more might be to simply play less nickel.
Fixing The Tackling
The Bears were not shy about their tackling woes against the Lions, but how do you fix something like that when you don’t tackle in practice?
“I mean there’s definitely ways you can work on it,” safety Chris Conte said. “The biggest thing with us is just having our feet right when we’re going to make the tackle, closing space and not getting our feet too wide. So there are little things you can work on without the actual contact of hitting so we’re going to spend some time doing that.”
Lions Calling Bears ‘Thugs’?
Forgive the Bears for being caught off guard by a Detroit Lions executive referring to them as “a bunch of thugs.”
But that’s exactly what Lions vice chairman Bill Ford last night at the Lions’ 20th annual Courage House dinner.
So what was Bears cornerback Tim Jennings’ response?
“It is intense,” he said. “If that’s the case I guess we could take it as a good thing. Now we, finally, we’re tougher than we thought we were. People are realizing that. So he wanna call us thugs, we can take that as a compliment, I guess. We like to think we’re playing nasty, but we play within the rules, you know. I don’t know whether he’s just meaning we’re dirty or we’re just a nasty defense. We weren’t too nasty when we played them, so I dunno what he’s trying to get out of it.”
– Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (foot), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (turf toe) cornerback Charles Tillman (groin) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) were all held out of practice Wednesday. Meanwhile, tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder), defensive end Julius Peppers (chest) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad) were limited.
– Saints defensive end Brodrick Bunkley (calf), running back Mark Ingram (toe), defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee), safety Roman Harper (knee) and wide receiver Lance Moore (hand) did not practice Wednesday. Cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip) and defensive end Tom Johnson (hamstring) were limited.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.