The winds of change may soon be impacting the kicking game of the Chicago Bears, after the goal posts already did.
Kicker Cody Parkey can consider himself fortunate it doesn't mean his job status is affected, after he missed two extra points and banged two relatively short field goals off the uprights in Sunday's 34-22 victory over the Detroit Lions.
"It is a unique situation," Bears head coach Matt Nagy admitted Monday about Parkey hitting the uprights four times against the Lions. "Thing that you always go back to is we've all, everybody in this room, has had a bad day. We've all had those. So, he wasn't having a good day yesterday."
Nagy reiterated his statement after Sunday's game about not bringing in another kicker for a look but wouldn't downplay the seriousness of Parkey's misses.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat anything, and he wouldn't want that from me," Nagy said. "So, we'll have our own conversations and keep it between us, but I'll always handle it as best as I can for the team and for him and then just stick with my gut."
Nagy continues to have confidence in Parkey, misguided or not.
"You go back to a few weeks ago when Mason Crosby missed a few for Green Bay and then the next week he ended up kicking the game-winner," Nagy said. "It's just a crazy cycle and it's just a matter of your patience that you have with it and fortunately for us yesterday we did have the lead, but I think in these situations, as long as you're authentic, you're real with each other.
"But now, he also needs to take the next step of trying to figure out how he can get better and we'll go ahead and do that."
What might change is the way the Bears practice kicking for home games.
When the Bears had Robbie Gould as a kicker, they sometimes conducted kicking practice at Soldier Field to get him acclimated with the wind conditions at a stadium on a lake where winds sometimes swirl. Gould, long snapper Patrick Mannelly and punter/holder Brad Maynard would go to Soldier Field early, then return for practice.
Last week, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor told the media logistics prevented such practices.
"I think each and every day is different," Tabor said. "Going down to Soldier Field, obviously it's not as accessible just to pop right down there with the traffic and then get back for practice. The good thing is he's been a pro who has been in a lot of stadiums."
After the game, Parkey said it wasn't "my place" to say whether he'll be practicing at Soldier Field, and Nagy laughed it off, saying, "it's pretty windy up at Halas Hall, too.
"He just has to just keep kicking away and staying positive."
Things changed on Monday, however. Nagy was asked about the practices at Soldier Field again and said: "There's a possibility. Yeah, there's a possibility."
The stadium and practice facility are 36 miles apart. Nagy said the travel wasn't the problem.
"No. If that's something that we decide to do then we'll get it done," he said.
Parkey signed a four-year, $15 million deal in the offseason and the Bears thought they had solved their problems after struggling both in 2016 and 2017.
Gould, the kicker GM Ryan Pace cut, has made 67-of-70 field goal tries since leaving Chicago. He has missed twice as many extra points (6) as field goals in that period.
G Bryan Witzmann played every snap at right guard Sunday in place of veteran Eric Kush. "That was a choice that both [line coach] Harry [Hiestand] and I discussed it and we just felt comfortable with him," Nagy said. "It's again, for Kush and Witz, with Witz being new and coming here, we wanted to give him a good opportunity of seeing what he could do, and we thought he did a good job."
WR Anthony Miller earned two penalties against the Lions. One was unsportsmanlike conduct for spinning the ball near an opponent's feet after a catch, and the other was for batting the ball forward on an onside kick. The Lions used the second penalty to re-kick, then recovered the onside kick and went on to score a touchdown.
LB Leonard Floyd got his first sack of the season in the third quarter of Sunday's win. "Big monkey off my back," Floyd told the Chicago Tribune. "Big, big monkey. It was just a spin move. I just let my body move naturally. Quarterback held the ball and I got him. There were quite a few I could have had today."
RB Jordan Howard led the Bears' anemic rushing attack Sunday with 21 yards on 11 carries.
LB Roquan Smith had nine solo tackles, a sack and a pass breakup in Sunday's win.