Coming off a very poor effort in a Week 1 preseason victory, the Chicago Bears‘ special teams picked up right where they left off on Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With plenty of question marks surrounding their defensive unit, the Bears will need to find a way to improve on their poor effort on special teams before the regular season begins.
The tone was set early when the Jaguars returned to opening kickoff 29 yards. The Jaguars would eventually finish their opening drive with a 49-yard field goal from Josh Scobee. While the kickoff coverage team led the game off on a sour note, the kick return team chipped in early on when Eric Weems fumbled the kick return and gave the Jaguars great field position, which led to a Jaguar TD. Weems drew the unfortunate job of taking over kick return duties after future Hall-of-Famer Devin Hester left town during free agency. If the Bears hope to move on in the post-Hester era, they will need to improve on their ball security.
Hester will forever be remembered for his ability to take the ball to the end zone on kick returns, and the Bears must accept the fact that those days are long behind them. The major focus of the return teams should now turn to maintaining possession of the football. Last week, Michael Spurlock muffed a punt return and the Philadelphia Eagles jumped on the ball. With Weems’ first quarter kick return fumble, the Bears marked the second straight game in which their special teams turned the ball over.
The Bears have plenty of questions surrounding their defense in 2014, which means they need solid play from their special teams to limit the offensive chances of opposing teams. They have two more preseason games to get things sorted out, or else the Bears could be in for a long season.
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