Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Bears work out four punters at Halas
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears brought in free agent punters Ryan Quigley, Spencer Lanning, Chas Henry and Ryan Tydlacka on a tryout basis Wednesday morning at Halas Hall.
Quigley and Lanning had each served as the Bears' backup to starter Adam Podlesh in training camp the last two summers. Lanning also spent time this past offseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets.
"We had punters in today because normally just about every week there is someone we are looking at," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "We're always trying to improve our team and see what is out there. Today was a punters day."
Podlesh has struggled a bit in his second season in Chicago after signing a five-year, $10 million contract with the Bears in the 2011 offseason.
His season got off on a bad note when he sustained a hip flexor injury early in the preseason that caused him to miss several weeks leading up the regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears carried a second punter, rookie Quigley, on the 53-man roster in Week 1, but Podlesh returned in time to punt against the Colts and Quigley was waived the following day.
Smith said Podlesh's health did not factor into the club's decision to workout the four free agent punters.
"He's healthy," Smith said. "If you are out there on the football field you are healthy and ready to go, especially with the punter. You have to have everything right before you can punt. So that's not an issue."
Through nine games, Podlesh is No. 30 in the NFL with an average of 41.7 yards per kick and No. 21 with a net average of 38.4. He had three punts of under 40 yards in the club's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans, although one of the kicks was downed at the Texans' 3-yard line.
"Podlesh has played well for us throughout," Smith said. "No one played as well as they needed to the last game. None of us performed as well as we needed to."