The Bears have been able to find a quarterback, left tackle, left guard and strong-side linebacker with more ease than their search for a camp leg.
That hunt will continue today at Halas Hall as three punters will be in for a workout during the OTA. One of them is a familiar face--Zac Atterberry. He was the camp leg the Bears used last summer at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., and he performed well during the preseason. If familiarity is worth anything, perhaps he will have an edge over Louie Sakoda and Sean Douglas.
Atterberry averaged 41.5 yards on 10 punts during preseason and his net average of 39.5 ranked 11th in the league. The Bears trusted him enough that they brought him back on the practice squad in the week leading up to the Oct. 12 game at Atlanta because there was concern Brad Maynard would be out with an injury. Maynard turned out to be fine and Atterberry went on his way. Since, Atterberry has spent time on Washington's roster and he had a workout with Indianapolis last month.
Beating out the 13-year Maynard isn't the easiest way to make an NFL roster.
"Where I am at right now, I just need Zac in a camp,'' agent Rob Sheets said. ``Whether it's in Chicago, Indy, Washington or Tuscaloosa, I need him in an NFL camp and let the cards fall where they may. Zac's good enough to play in this league.''
Sakoda is an intriguing prospect because he was an All-American punter and kicker at Utah. Projected as one of the top kickers in the draft, he was not selected. He spent time in minicamp in San Diego. Sakoda is an interesting possibility because he has the ability to punt and kick, but the key is spelling Maynard from time to time. Back and hamstring injuries have plagued him in the past. Agent Jeff Nalley said Douglas, a University of Washington product who spent time last year with Tampa Bay and St. Louis, is also in the mix.
The Bears have 80 players on their roster although only 78 count against the 80-man limit right now because third-round picks Jarron Gilbert and Juaquin Iglesias are unsigned. If they choose to sign one of these punters, they will have to clear a spot as Gilbert and Iglesias are expected to be signed in the coming weeks if not sooner.
Maynard is coming off one of his finest seasons. He led the league and set a franchise record with 40 punts inside the 20-yard line. He had just five touchbacks, his fewest since he had two in 2002. His net average of 38.1 ranked 11th in the league and second in the NFC, a strong showing considering how challenging Soldier Field can be to kick in.