Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Podlesh: Not surprised Bears tested market
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears veteran punter Adam Podlesh cited bad mechanics as the reason he struggled in the Bears' Week 4 defeat at Ford Field when he averaged 40.2 yards on five punts with a net average of 28.8 yards.
"It was bad mechanics and a bad swing throughout the game," Podlesh said. "There are a few things that I've kind of looked into that I've kind of helped rectify the situation a little bit. This week has been good, today was good. I hit the ball well and kind of figured out a few of those problem areas."
Podlesh's performance against the Lions led the Bears to bring in six punters Tuesday for a tryout: Drew Butler, T.J. Conley, Chris Kluwe, Mat McBriar, Brian Moorman and Tress Way. Although none of the six left Halas Hall with a contract, Podlesh said he understood why the Bears felt it necessary to explore other potential options at the position.
"They notified me," Podlesh said. "I was appreciative of that, just to let me know. Not that it would have changed my thought process on anything. 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."
Podlesh had to deal with a similar situation last year when the Bears worked out several punters after the seven-year NFL veteran hit a rough patch in the middle of the year. However, Podlesh finished 2012 on a high-note, pinning opponents inside their own 20-yard line 17 times in the team's final five games.
"Obviously I started putting out a better product, started punting better [after the tryouts last year]," Podlesh said. "I don't know if that was just coincidental."
Podlesh set a franchise season record in net punting average (40.4) in 2011 after he signed a five-year, $10 million free-agent deal with the Bears that included $3.5 million in total guarantees. That lucrative deal came as a result of Podlesh's success from 2007-10 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where Joe DeCamillis served as the special teams coach for two seasons. DeCamillis is currently in his first year as the Bears assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.
"It's more timing than anything else," DeCamillis explained. "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."
Bears head coach Marc Trestman believes Podlesh's problems are correctable, although it's likely the organization would opt to make a move if the punter has another shaky outing Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field.
"I think [Podlesh] will bounce back," Trestman said. "I think that talking to Joe and talking to Adam, I think that the mechanics of his kicking -- and I don't know kicking, I'm not going to tell you I know the difference -- but talking to Joe, they think they can make some corrections in a way that can help him get back to where we think he should be. We're optimistic that will happen.
"Teams all over the league bring players in at certain times of the season to make sure they've got a list of guys that they've looked at and worked at, and everybody knows we brought some punters in this week. I think every professional knows that he's got to step up each and every week and be at his best. We've brought people in almost every week since we've been here. But I don't think Adam needs anybody to come in to know that the next week he's got to punt better. We've all got to play better. We've got to coach better and play better if we're going to be in a position to win on Sunday."