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Chicago Bears 2018 Position Battles: The Specialists

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Our 11-part position by position look at the Chicago Bears’ training camp battles moves over to the third phase as we discuss kicker, punter, and long snapper,

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t expect much excitement among the special team specialists for the Chicago Bears during training camp.

Roster Locks

Since there is only one long snapper in camp, Patrick Scales, he’s a lock. Injury or poor performance could lead them to an alternative, but as of right now, Scales is the new man. He missed all of last year with an injury, but he made on-the-money snaps the previous twenty-one games.

The Bears made Cody Parkey the fifth highest paid kicker for the 2018 season, so they expect him to solidify their kicking game. He doesn’t have the biggest leg on kickoffs with only 41.8% of his kicks going for touchbacks, but he only missed two field goals last year. If he had enough field goal attempts in his career, his 86.36% made would rank seventh all-time.

The Bears flirted with signing another punter this offseason, but eventually brought Pat O’Donnell back for his fifth season. He’s improved every year, and I think by working with new special teams coach Chris Tabor, we’ll see O’Donnell have his best season yet.

A good bet to make it

Move along, nothing to see here...

On the bubble

Rookie undrafted free agent Ryan Winslow is in camp, but he’ll need to out-punt O’Donnell to have any chance, and I don’t see that happening.