Chicago Bears: Grades for each unit as they enter the bye week

Chicago Bears - Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chicago Bears - Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears – Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Special Teams

The Chicago Bears’ special teams has had some good and some bad this season. First, their punt returns are not so good. They average just 7.5 yards per punt return, ranking just 21st. As a comparison, the Baltimore Ravens lead the league with an average of 16.7 yards.

On kickoff returns, however, the Bears are better. They average 24.6 yards per return, ranking a very good eighth.

The trade for Jakeem Grant hopefully helped improve this. After David Montgomery went down with a sprained knee, the team made rookie running back Khalil Herbert the main backup. Up until then, he was used as a returner.

Grant helped increase the return averages for the Bears (imagine that the punt return averages were worse before he got to Chicago). Despite fumbling away a punt in Week 9, he’s been a good pickup. Hopefully, he improves the return numbers even more as the season progresses.

Punter Pat O’Donnell ranks 14th in the league in punt average at 46.7 yards. He also has 11 punts inside the 20.

The shining star of the special teams unit is kicker Cairo Santos. He just had his team-record streak of 40 made field goals snapped. However, it was a long 65-yard attempt that no one believed he’d make. It was a last-ditch effort.

Ever since the Bears cut Robbie Gould just before the 2016 season, they’ve been in search of a similar kicker. They found him in Santos. With an offense struggling to score points, they know they have sure points with Santos.

Grade: C