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Bears' Joe DeCamillis promises to 'churn it up' on special teams

Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis isn’t making any excuses.

When asked if there was a “coaching point” to make to his players after the Vikings converted a fake punt into a 48-yard gain by safety Andrew Sendejo that set up a touchdown in the Bears’ 21-13 victory last week, he put the credit and the blame where it was due. The Bears just got snookered.

“The coaching point was Mike Zimmer having really good guts and a great feel for when to call it,” DeCamillis said. “You always try to keep tabs on who you’re playing. That had not been something in their DNA, but it is now with coach Zimmer.

“It was a great call. I could’ve helped with a better call from the standpoint of personnel call but other than that was a great call. I’ve got to give him credit. He’s definitely made the notebook, I can tell you that.”

The fake punt was the latest in a series of mishaps that have haunted DeCamillis this season. Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal off an imperfect snap by Jeremy Cain. Rookie Christian Jones was called for an illegal block on a second-quarter punt.

“It’s really sad when you win a game and can’t enjoy it,” DeCamillis admitted. “My wife has been through this for 26 years with me and she knows I was miserable after the game.

“You take it upon yourself and there hasn’t been a lot of happy memories. We played probably our best game against Miami and we lost that game so there hasn’t been a lot of joy at my house after the games.

“[The fake punt] was a tough play. I’m glad the defense bailed us out and played as well as they did throughout the day. They bailed us out. So did the offense. So the next six games, hopefully it’s our turn to get one back for them.”


DeCamillis has been put in a tough spot, with the Bears dropping special teams veterans such as Blake Costanzo, Craig Steltz and Eric Weems to make room for younger, more athletic players to build roster depth. Weems had a Falcons-record six tackles on special teams against the Panthers on Sunday.

But after 27 years in the NFL, DeCamillis knows he has to play the hand he was dealt.

“It’s fair to evaluate me, because we’re paid to produce, just like the players,” DeCamillis said. “And it doesn’t make any difference who’s playing out there. You’ve got to play sound and play well and we’ve got to do that.”

Though it’s been a nightmarish season, DeCamillis sees the big-picture progress that Bears general manager Phil Emery is looking for with the infusion of inexperienced but talented players on special teams.

“It’s the NFL,” DeCamillis said. “What happens if a guy goes on [injured reserve?]. It’s the same situation — you lost him. You just have to adjust from there.

“It’s a fluid situation because we’ve had a lot of young guys there. At the bottom end of the roster you’ve got to kind of churn it up and that’s what’s happened. So hopefully we’re getting the right combination of guys and I think there’s some guys who’re going to stick around and the more experience they get, they’re going to get better.”