Chicago Sun-Times

Even special teams has a lot of work to do

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Bears special teamer Craig Steltz wanted to wait until he sees the film to know exactly what went wrong with the Bears' special teams against the New York Giants on Monday night. But the naked eye is all you needed to know that it wasn't very good.

The Giants' Devin Thomas averaged 46.0 yards on three kickoff returns -- including a 73-yarder. The Bears allowed just one kickoff return of 50 or more yards last year (a 60-yarder by the Lions' Stefan Logan), but Thomas took one kick five-yards into the end zone to the Giants 28, and another kickoff four yards deep to the Bears 31.

''We just have to get off blocks and make tackles,'' Steltz said. ''As complex as the schemes are on special teams, a lot of it's very simple -- you have to get off blocks and make tackles.''

Not only was the kickoff coverage poor, but Spencer Lanning had a punt blocked that set up the Giants at the Bears 6 and led to David Carr's touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon in the final minute of the second quarter that gave the Giants a 20-6 lead. The Bears have not had a punt blocked in the regular season since Jan 1, 2006, when Jim Kleinsasser blocked a Brad Maynard punt in Mike Tice's final game as head coach of the Vikings.

Johnny Knox had a 45-yard punt return, but the Bears' return game in general was substandard. The Bears average drive start was the Giants 21. Their first four drives of the game began at their 17, 13, 14 and 19.

''You can't pinpoint anything until we see on film exactly what happened,'' Steltz said.

But he knows it was a struggle.

''Special teams is a big part of what we do here and we didn't get the job done,'' Steltz continued. ''We have to go back to see what happened and make corrections for next week.''

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 23, 2011 6:40 AM.

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