Every year for the last fourteen seasons, long time NFL writer Rick Gosselin puts out the most extensive special team rankings around. He ranks each team on twenty-two different third phase categories for the be-all-end-all ranking. Gosselin assigns points based on each team’s standing in each category, with 32 points going to the worst and one point going to the league leader in each category.
Last year the Chicago Bears checked in at number twenty-seven in his overall rankings, and this season they’re stuck at twenty-seven again with 447 points, tied with the Cleveland Browns. Coincidentally, the guy the Bears hired to run their special teams, Chris Tabor, was in Cleveland last year. Tabor’s top assistant, the recently hired Brock Olivo, was with the Denver Broncos last year as their special teams coordinator. The Broncos ranked 31st in 2017.
Both Tabor and Olivo come from the Dave Toub tree of special teams coaching, and Toub had the Kansas City Chiefs at number two in the 2017 rankings after being third in 2016.
It wasn’t all bad for the 2017 Bears. They ranked third in the punt return category with 10.5 yards, and tied for first with 18 points scored.
Last offseason I was hopeful that another year of roster turnover would bring in better depth, which would lead to better special teams play, but that didn’t happen. I think the issues at placekicker have led to some of the Bears issues the last few years, so that needs to be a priority for general manager Ryan Pace in the coming months.
What are your thoughts on the special teams in 2018 for the Bears?