BBAO: Bears specialists scrutinized

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Given the 180-degree turnaround of his sentiments Wednesday, I'm going to guess Chicago Bears place-kicker Robbie Gould got himself in a bit of hot water by criticizing the field conditions at Soldier Field on ESPN 1000. Gould reiterated his stance during an interview with reporters but recanted and apologized in a statement released by the team Wednesday evening. (It's worth noting that the field will be re-sodded before the Bears' next home game.)

But Gould wasn't the only Bears specialist under scrutiny. As colleague Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com notes, the team tried out four punters at its facility at a time when punter Adam Podlesh has been struggling. None were signed, but two of them were punters the Bears already know well: Spencer Lanning, who spent 2011 training camp with them, and Ryan Quigley, who was with them in camp this summer.

Podlesh ranks No. 21 in the NFL with a 38.4 net average and had three punts under 40 yards last Sunday against the Houston Texans. Replacing a veteran punter in the stretch playoff run is risky, and Podlesh doesn't appear to be struggling enough to make a switch. But the Bears were at the very least weighing their options.

Continuing around the NFC North: