Today we're bringing you our Q&A with Jordan Esco of the Oklahoma Sooners SB Nation site, Crimson And Cream Machine, about the newest punter on the Chicago Bears, undrafted free agent Tress Way. Yes, a punter is the feature in this Five Questions With...
If you recall on Friday, Jordan gave us the skinny on Oklahoma corner Demontre Hurst, so we really appreciate the 411 twofer from Jordan.
Last year the Bears had some issues with current punter Adam Podlesh, so this could be a signing to give the vet a kick in the ass, or maybe the new coaching staff is craving some legit competition. Remember, Podlesh is drawing a hefty paycheck, having signed a 5 year, $10 million dollar deal in 2011. So you never know...
Windy City Gridiron - Would you classify Tress Way as more a directional punter or a boomer?
Crimson And Cream Machine - If you'll forgive the cop-out on my part, I'd probably put him somewhere in-between. He's a guy who can find you that coffin corner when need be, but he's also capable of ripping off a 70-yarder (especially w/ the wind at his back in Soldier Field). If you scroll through his college profile you'll see season high punts of 67, 74, 75, and 85 yards. So he has a strong leg and those definitely were not just a product of the strong winds Oklahoma typically plays in during home games.
WCG - Often times punters are called on to make TD saving tackles, is Way capable of this?
CACM - He's a good enough athlete to put himself in position to make this kind of play, but like pretty much every kicker/punter not named Sebastian Janikowski he isn't going to intimidate anyone when they square up against one another. As you're well aware, often times in touchdown saving tackle situations it's as much about being in the right position (namely, near the sideline) to at least slow the returner down as it is actually bringing the guy to the ground. At the end of the day, he's still a punter.
WCG - Does Way have any hidden QB skills that would make him a 'fake punt' threat?
CACM - Oklahoma's fake punt attempts have been few and far between in recent years. While Way would have been a part of the small handful OU has attempted, I cannot think of any instance in which he was asked to throw the ball. So it would be somewhat difficult to gauge what he's capable of as a passer. I don't think it would look like the dad from that Volkswagen commercial, but it's probably not something I'd want to be relying on as a head coach.
WCG - Many teams in the NFL ask their punter to double as the holder for FGs and PATs, did Way do this at Oklahoma?
CACM - Way did handle holding duties at times, but it wasn't something that he did on a regular basis. Oklahoma tends to favor quarterbacks for their holding duties, primarily we assume for the very reason you referenced above and potential fake opportunities (even though they rarely take advantage of them).
He also spent some brief time as the team's primary placekicker, with mixed results, so his ability to do both could help to increase his chances of making a roster.
WCG - On the CBS Sports draft page, they list 16 punters, and Tress Way isn't among them. Is that just a glaring oversight on their part and did their scouts miss out on a talented collegiate punter?
CACM - I'd attribute it mainly to him not have the senior year many expected him to have. He was more inconsistent this past season than he'd been in years past and when when you're a punter there obviously aren't many aspects of your game which they can judge you by. So when you don't excel at the one area you're responsible for it can hurt your chances. The upside is they have three other years of film on Way where he was a legitimate special teams weapon for this Oklahoma program.
Thanks again to Jordan Esco of Crimson And Cream Machine!
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