The Chicago Bears signed punter Adam Podlesh following the 2010 season, in which he ranked 15th in the league in gross punt average (43.8). He held firm in 2011, averaging 43.9 per punt, yet that number has dropped to 41.7 this season, which is 30th in the league. His 38.4 net average ranks 23rd.
Podlesh suffered a hip pointer late in the preseason but returned in time for the start of the regular season. Yet the drop off in production makes it logical to question whether the hip is still bothering him.
It appears the Bears are asking themselves the same question, as the team today brought in three punters to work out at Halas Hall.
Two of the punters, Spencer Lanning and Ryan Quigley, were Chicago's training camp punters the last two offseasons. Quigley actually made the 53-man roster this year coming out of camp, before Podlesh returned. Both have powerful kicking legs.
Podlesh said today that his hip is fine, so this could be a case of the Bears just getting a closer look at some worst-case-scenario options.
"No, he's healthy," said Lovie Smith. "If you're out there on the football field, you're healthy. Especially with a punter; you have to have everything right so that's not an issue."
Smith downplayed the workouts as usual Tuesday business.
"We had punters in today because normally, just about every week, there's someone we're looking at, always trying to improve our team and see what's out there," said Smith. "Today was the punters' day."
Despite Smith's comments, with the way Podlesh has looked this season, it's safe to say the Bears are at least considering making a change at punter.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.