LAKE FOREST – The precision, in many ways, is mind-boggling.
It’s conceivable to kick a football through the 18-feet & six inches between the goalposts. It’s even more believable that the ball could go to the right or to the left, even short.
But to hit the goalpost on either side is the toughest thing to do. It happens less often than a make or a miss, and hitting them takes some doing.
Not only did Cody Parkey hit the post against the Lions on Sunday, but he managed to do it four times.
“Yeah, it is weird,” admitted Matt Nagy after the game at Soldier Field. “And to be able to hit — we all can go out there and kick a field goal a hundred times and never hit that goal post one time, and he did it four times today.”
That’s certainly not a good thing. Nagy admitted then and did so again on Monday in his day after news conference. Yet it’s not like they’re going to cast Parkey aside after a forgettable afternoon.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The goal is to rally around him.
“That’s who we are,” said Nagy of many of his teammates supporting Parkey after his struggles. “A matter of fact, coming out of there with the win, great, awesome. But when you see the little things, when you see that, to me it just speaks volumes of what kind of people have, what kind of teammates we have.
“Whenever you’re down, and everyone’s against you, to have your brothers, your family in there, picking you up, that’s good stuff.”
Yet it can’t be all positive.
Parkey did miss four kicks – two extra points and two field goals. Putting those off the post cost the Bears eight points, which could have been a problem had the Lions kept pace a little better in the first half.
On October 14th, Parkey missed a potential game-winning field goal against the Dolphins in overtime, but that was from 53-yards. Other than that, he’s been rather consistent, entering Sunday’s game 13-of-16 on field goals without missing an extra point.
That certainly changed Sunday, and that fact certainly rings home as much as the footballs did off the posts.
“He understands he was tough, he gets it. He’s not a child, he understands the magnitude of it. So if you over-do it, you beat it down, you’ll just make it worse,” said Nagy.
As he did after the game, Nagy reiterated that no kickers will be brought in this week to compete with Parkey. The coach did float the idea of the kicker heading down to Soldier Field for a little extra practice at the traditionally windy venue at the lakefront.
He’ll be back there Sunday making the kicks against the Vikings in a Sunday night contest that’s arguably one of the biggest in the regular season in a decade.
“We understand what yesterday was,” said Nagy of Parkey. “But we also understand that we’ve got to make field goals. There’s that balance there.”
Along with a needed pat on the back after a miserable day.
“You support your guy! You support your guy because he’s there all-day,” said defensive end Akiem Hicks when asked about the kicker. “He doesn’t want to miss a kick. That’s the last thing that he wants to do, it’s what he focuses on every day and unfortunately it happens in the NFL.
“You’re going to miss some kicks and I think that he has a great mind-set as far as just coming back and trying it again, going for it again and just trying to be better.”
A few inches inside the goal posts should do it.