Bears kickers compete under code of 'Augusta silence'

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As the Chicago Bears' kicking competition crawls into another month, Bears coaches are employing an unusual pressure tactic, borrowed not from the stands of Soldier Field but the galleries of Augusta National.

Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor told reporters Wednesday that he is having Chicago's three kickers compete under the code of "Augusta silence" when a field goal is attempted during the offseason program.

"No one talks," Tabor said, per ESPN's Jeff Dickerson. "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. [Bears coach Matt] Nagy and I have talked about it ... it's different."

Ever since Cody Parkey double-doinked the Bears' season and his career in Chicago away, the organization has searched for a replacement. The Bears brought eight kickers to rookie minicamp but have since narrowed their options down to three booters: Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro, whom they acquired the Oakland Raiders in a trade.

"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."

This sort of pressure might be more applicable to game situations at Soldier Field, where the home crowd is more likely to tense up during a field-goal attempt late in the game, rather than those at a rival locale, like Lambeau Field or U.S. Bank Stadium. Parkey, for what it's worth, missed five field goals and two extra points at home last season, including playoffs, and three FGs and one XP on the road.

Under a microscope after the way their 2018 season ended, the Bears are trying anything and everything to get the kicker position right. While Chicago doesn't know when it will decide on a starting placekicker for the 2019 season, the Bears at least know there's a deadline.

"We'll definitely have to have somebody Thursday night [in the NFL regular-season opener] against Green Bay," Tabor said. "I feel good about that."

Chicago is surely hoping the eventual starter will be more Tiger Woods than Greg Norman.

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