Bears get long look at shaky special teams

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
11:55
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Chicago Bears made a concerted effort to take a long look at several new faces on special teams Monday night. But there were very few highlights from the third phase, which at times appeared shaky and confused.

[+] EnlargeKnox
Jim O'Connor/US PresswireJohnny Knox found little room to run in the return game against the Giants on Monday night.
The worst moment came in the second quarter when New York's Greg Jones came free up the gut and blocked a punt attempt by Spencer Lanning. The Giants got the ball on the Bears' 6-yard line and punched it in the end zone two plays later.

Rookie linebacker Dom DeCicco took responsibility for the mistake in the postgame locker room.

"That blocked punt really hurt the team and was 100 percent my fault," DeCicco said. "That really was not a good thing. Hopefully, I can learn from my mistake. I just have to keep playing hard, get better and hopefully redeem myself next week.

"My guy was holding me up the whole time, and I tried getting out of it fast, and Jones happened to be coming [up the middle] at that time. It was a bad mistake, and it really cost us."

However, DeCicco wasn't the only one guilty of poor play on special teams. The Bears allowed a 73-yard kickoff return to Devin Thomas when a New York blocker cleared out D.J. Moore, which gave Thomas a wide open running lane down the right hash. Dave Toub's group also failed to muster much of a return game themselves. Thanks to solid punting by Giants kickers Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford, Johnny Knox averaged just 7.5 yards on a pair of punt returns. Knox faired a little better on kickoff returning, taking one back 45 yards.

It should be pointed the Bears were missing a couple of special teams regulars Monday night -- Zack Bowman and Corey Wootton were out, while Brian Iwuh started at weak side linebacker in place of Lance Briggs -- but several core members of the unit were present and accounted for.

Bears assistant coaches are off limits to the media following games, but no doubt Toub will have plenty to say when the group reconvenes at Halas Hall in the middle of the week.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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