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The Chicago Bears' special teams are doomed: Who will replace Patrick Mannelly?

We've looked at the position battles on the offensive side of the ball, so before we head over to the D, we'll take a gander at the specialists. But first a moment of silence for the retired Patrick Mannelly...

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports




Thank you.

Bill Clinton was president in 1997.

A gallon of gas would have cost about $1.19 in 1997.

And 1997 was the last time the Chicago Bears had someone other than Patrick Mannelly serving as their primary long snapper.

The special teams unit will look much different in 2014 without their Captain.

An end of an era.

Mannelly isn't the only specialist that has moved on. After eight electrifying years, Devin Hester will now be getting ridiculous in Atlanta. The Bears have already announced that they won't hold a roster spot for an exclusive return man, so Hester's replacement will have to be multidimensional.

Roster Locks

Robbie Gould is the only specialist that I feel is a lock for the team. He's one of the best in the game today and he does it in the tough conditions of Soldier Field. Time will tell if a new long snapper and holder will affect his career 86% connect rate on field goals.

A good bet to make it

Is anyone deserving of this category?

On the bubble

The Bears drafted a punter who can flat out boom it in Pat O'Donnell, but word from the OTAs was that fellow punter Tress Way stepped up his game. Competition will do that for you. So far during training camp it seems O'Donnell is the favorite, but there's more to punting that kicking the ball 60+ yards. If O'Donnell can show consistent hang time and ball placement he should win the job. The winner of the preseason punt-off will make the roster, with the loser hoping to catch another team's eye.

The Bears signed 32 year old Chad Rempel, a 10 year CFL veteran, to compete with Brandon Hartson for long snapping duties. If either of these two falter the Bears could scour the waiver wire or just offer Mannelly a piece of the team to entice his return. Training camp has already seen a handful of tweets about something called "bad snaps". For those not aware a "bad snap" is something that happens when the long snapper doesn't have pinpoint accuracy.

I hope Brad Biggs was fined for tweeting out the following yesterday.

Where is your confidence level on the Bears special teams in 2014?