UA-59049186-1 Chicago Bears 2023 Season Preview: Special Teams - Good if it Goes

Chicago Bears 2023 Season Preview: Special Teams

Pretend this says #8. {Photo: Chicago Sun-Times]

All through the offseason, the possibility of Robbie Gould returning had many Bears fans excited. The fan favorite still lives in the Chicago area. Some fans thought it wasn’t a matter of “if,” but “when.” 

It didn’t happen. Cairo Santos remains the kicker here. This is totally fine. It is fine because Cairo is consistent and consistency is nice. We learned this the hard way. Having learned this the way we did, I am perfectly happy to keep Cairo instead of thinking we can do better. Santos’ range does leave something to be desired; he doesn’t have the leg to go much beyond 50. But inside of 50, he’s money. During this second run with the Bears, Santos is 71-for-75 (94.7%) inside of 50 and a perfect 45-for-45 inside of 40. He’s only 6-for-10 beyond 50, but one of those was a 65-yard attempt that never had any chance except in Matt Nagy’s mind because I guess he thought real life worked like the old Madden games and he could play the Da Boot card and give his kicker unlimited range. Anyway, consistency is good. Cairo is good.

Trenton Gill is a punter. We hope we never have to see Trenton Gill except when he’s holding on extra points and field goal attempts for the aforementioned Mr. Santos. Drafted in the seventh round last year out of NC State, Gill has displayed a big leg. Again, the hope is that he never has to use it except to walk on and off the field to hold for Cairo.

Patrick Scales returns as the long snapper and will continue to…uh…snap longly. A ninth-year man out of Utah State, Scales hasn’t been a problem in the seven years he’s spent in Chicago. Thus, he remains. Consistency, people.

Velus Jones will return kicks, a task he showed great aptitude for a season ago. He showed less aptitude for returning punts and that lack of aptitude followed him into the preseason this year, so now Trent Taylor is here to do that. A sixth-year (seventh, depending how you count, I guess – he missed the entire 2019 season) man out of Louisiana Tech, Taylor amassed 430 receiving yards as a rookie for the 49ers in 2017 and hasn’t totaled that many in his entire career since. But that’s okay, he’s here to return punts. Last year in Cincinnati, Taylor averaged 10.3 yards per return, good enough for seventh in the league among players with at least 20 attempts. He’s still looking for his first career punt return touchdown. Why not here?

Whatever Elmo’s calling it nowThreads: @312sportsguy

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