When it came to releasing kicker Robbie Gould, special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers deferred to general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox’s decision-making and reasoning.
But Rodgers wanted to pay his respects to the best kicker in Bears history.
“Heck of a career,” Rodgers said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “To do what he did in this city for that long, that’s an amazing deal.
“t’s not just about his consistency for so long. It was about the location he’s kicking in and in this division — a lot of tough kicks.
“I respect what he did, but at this point, when the decision-makers have made those decisions, we just go forward.”
Now Rodgers has to make sure new kicker Connor Barth doesn’t disappoint. With the season opener Sunday in Houston, Rodgers has less than a week to connect Barth with long snapper Patrick Scales and holder/punter Pat O’Donnell.
“There’s a timing element to it,” Rodgers said. “It takes some time to get used to that operation and you try to get guys enough reps so they’re used to it no matter who’s in there.”
As far as kickoffs go, Rodgers said he doesn’t expect much of a transition because Gould and Barth both kick directionally well.
“We’re going to try and marry the thing that [Barth’s] done and … [what] we’re comfortable with in terms of what we’ll do against Houston,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers’s belief in Barth, a 30-year old journeyman joining his sixth NFL team, stems from their work together in 2014 for the Broncos.
Barth appeared in five games for the Broncos late that season, making 15 of 16 field goals. He made every field goal under 40 yards and all 15 of his point-after attempts.
“His history says that he’s an accurate field-goal guy,” Rodgers said. “His history says that he’s kicked in a lot of different places. He’s been in this situation when he’s come in … and performed. [There were] a couple different midseason, where ‘Hey, he’s now the guy.’ He’s performed well under that.”
The Bears listed seven players as limited at practice on Wednesday: right guard Kyle Long (shoulder), cornerback Kyle Fuller (knee), cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin), kick returner Deonte Thompson (knee/ankle), safety Deon Bush (hamstring), fullback Paul Lasike (wrist) and defensive lineman Cornelius Washington (ankle/knee)
The NFL and Twitter announced hash-tag catchphrases for each team this season to generate conversation across the popular social media platform.
Most of the hash tags were well-known sayings for teams. But the league and Twitter opted to pass over a version of “Bear Down” for the Bears.
Instead, #feeddabears is being promoted. It’s already been used by the Bears’ official Twitter account.