LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears' quest to replace Cody Parkey led the coaching staff to implement a new technique to test the resolve of the three kickers currently under contract at Chicago's voluntary offseason program.
Bears special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor explained on Wednesday that he and head coach Matt Nagy lifted a page from the Masters' playbook and operate under the code of "Augusta silence" whenever a field goal is called for during team drills at OTAs.
"No one talks," Tabor said. "Obviously we're doing the 'Augusta silence' [for a reason]. That's been awesome. I am used to people yelling at me. You know, I'm used to, I mean my daughters and my wife will yell at me, so I'm used to it. But when it's quiet out there it is, it is a different feeling. Nagy and I have talked about it ... it's different."
The Bears have actively searched for a new starting place kicker since the club cut Parkey, who missed eight kicks last season, including the infamous 43-yard double-doink at the end of Chicago's heartbreaking 16-15 playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bears, who hired a kicking consultant to assist them in their search, hosted eight place kickers at their rookie minicamp in May. The list was eventually whittled down to three: Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro, who arrived via a trade with the Oakland Raiders.
"We're creating as much pressure as we can on these guys," Nagy said. "We're getting the 'Augusta silence' out here with the team and that's eerie."
But Chicago's timetable to reach an ultimate decision is unclear. Nagy is still unsure how many kickers will accompany the team to training camp in late July. The Bears have mandatory three-day minicamp next week before players scatter for the NFL's version of summer break.
"Honestly, we have not figured that out yet," Nagy said. "We wanted to get through, get right into the end of minicamp and just kind of get back collectively and talk about it, collaborate. But we're kind of up in the air. We're trying to let this thing play out. The more kicks we have, the more of a library we have."
Added Tabor with a smile: "Well, we'll definitely have to have somebody Thursday night [in the NFL regular-season opener] against Green Bay. I feel good about that."