Stepping in for veteran Adam Podlesh, undrafted rookie Ryan Quigley proved to the Bears — and other NFL clubs — that he belongs in the league.
Quigley averaged 37.4 net yards on seven of his eight punts, not including one that was blocked. While he took blame for the blocked punt, he clearly wasn’t at fault, as backup running back Harvey Unga missed the New York Giants player.
“Ryan Quigley did a good job punting the football,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “He’s done that for us in practice. I like seeing a guy with a great opportunity in front of him (who) steps up to the plate, and he did that.”
What Quigley did Friday night was significant on several fronts. First, he showed that the opportunity wasn’t too big for him. Second, in the vent Podlesh can’t return right at the start of the season, Quigley can serve as a solid fill-in.
That could save the Bears a lot of money. If they had to sign a veteran before the season opener, the Bears would have had to guarantee that player’s salary for the entire season, even if he only lasted on the roster a couple of weeks.
Quigley, though, gets paid on a game-to-game basis.
Friday, though, was a dream come true.
“I think back to when I was 10 years old — if you would have told me I would be doing this,” he said, “I’d have said, ‘No way.’ ”