Why did the Bears work out punters this week?

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Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said the organization’s decision to work out punters this week was based on two things.

“You want to know for the emergency list, No. 1, and … it’s a performance-based business,” Toub said Thursday after practice at Halas Hall. “Everybody knows that you need to perform at a high level, and if you don’t, as a coach and as a team, you have to explore other options that are out there. You have to know who’s available if we do make a change.”

The Bears worked out four free-agent punters at Halas Hall on Tuesday. It was just two days after punter Adam Podlesh had a tough night in a steady rain at Soldier Field against the Houston Texans. Podlesh punted five times, averaging 38.8 yards per kick.

Toub said Podlesh’s health had nothing to do with his recent struggles. Podlesh was sidelined by a hip flexor injury in the summer.

“There’s no injury,” Toub said. “I think he’s over what he had. As far as his performance, he’s kind of in a slump right now. We’re trying to battle through it. He had a real good practice today, so we’re encouraged.”

Of course, the workouts can be seen as motivation for Podlesh. Through nine games, Podlesh ranks 30th in the NFL with an average of 41.7 yards per punt. He also is No. 21 with a net average of 38.4.

“It could be a motivational thing, but we just needed to survey the scene and see who’s out there,” Toub said.

“Podlesh is fine. He understands this is a performance-based business that we’re in, and we brought guys in just to make sure, to see where they’re at right now. Because a lot of those guys haven’t punted possibly in 10 weeks, so we brought a bunch of young players in just to see if they have been staying in shape, pretty much.”

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