Coach Matt Nagy still trusts Bears kicker Cody Parkey — to a point
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Bears coach Matt Nagy is trusting but not naive.
Nagy prefers to think of kicker Cody Parkey hitting the upright four times Sunday against the Lions — on two missed extra points and two missed field goals — as an anomaly. Bears kickers had hit the upright four times in their previous 61 games before Parkey did it in 2½ quarters against the Lions.
‘‘Everybody in this room has had a bad day,’’ Nagy said Monday.
Nagy reiterated he won’t replace Parkey, whose contract undoubtedly played a role in Nagy’s thinking. The Bears gave Parkey $15 million over four years, including $9 million guaranteed, in March.
‘‘We understand what [Sunday] was,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘We also understand that we’ve gotta make field goals. There’s that balance there.’’
Nagy was supportive but not patronizing, mastering a delicate dance.
‘‘[Parkey] understands it was tough,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He gets it. He’s not a child. He understands the magnitude of it. If you overdo it, you beat it down, you just make it worse.’’
Nagy said Parkey might go to Soldier Field this week to practice in the swirling wind. Special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor, who compared kicking at Soldier Field to hitting a golf ball at the British Open, said last week that traffic would make such training difficult.
Nagy admitted, however, that Parkey can’t regain his trust simply by making kicks during the week.
‘‘The ones in the game count,’’ he said. ‘‘When he’s out there kicking, that’s how you gain it back. And he’s at a point right now where he knows how important . . .
‘‘Especially as we get going on into the season here, the end of the regular season, these are huge now. You’ve gotta make them. It’s just too important. They’re too crucial.’’
By the time the Bears scored their fifth touchdown against the Lions, Nagy knew he wasn’t going to give Parkey the chance to kick an extra point. He said Parkey understood, too.
‘‘There’s a balance, but I just truly believe in being honest,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘I’m not going to sugarcoat anything, and he wouldn’t want that from me.’’
Nagy pointed out Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in a loss this season to the Lions, only to kick a game-winning field goal the next week against the 49ers. Kicking can be a ‘‘crazy cycle,’’ he said, and patience is important.
‘‘But now [Parkey] also needs to take the next step of trying to figure out how he can get better,’’ Nagy said.
Winning, of course, made Parkey’s misses less painful. And Nagy took at least one positive from them: the reaction of Parkey’s teammates.
After he hit the upright for the fourth time on a missed 34-yard field goal in the third quarter, Parkey was greeted by punter Pat O’Donnell, snapper Patrick Scales, cornerback Kyle Fuller, inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson gave him a high-five and a tap on the helmet. Right tackle Bobby Massie put his arm around Parkey, and cornerback Prince Amukamara offered encouragement.
That was all before Parkey even reached the sideline.
‘‘I loved it,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘You kidding me? That’s who we are. Matter of fact, coming out of there with the win? Great, awesome. But those little things, when you see that, that just speaks volumes of what kind of people we have, what kind of teammates we have.
‘‘Whenever you’re down and everyone’s against you, to have your brothers and your family in there picking you up, that’s good stuff. And I like that.’’