Nothing special about Bears' personnel shuffling

Updated 11/30/2014 10:03 PM

The season-long shuffling of bodies at the bottom of the roster has created a turnstile effect on special teams, which rely mostly on non-starters for their key players.

But special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, whose group had one of its best games against at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, isn't complaining about the turnover in personnel.


"It's the NFL," DeCamillis said. "What happens if a guy goes on IR (injured reserve)? It's the same situation -- you lost him. You just have to adjust from there. It's a fluid situation because we've had a lot of young guys there.

"At the bottom end of the roster, you've got to kind of churn it up, and that's what's happened. So hopefully we're getting the right combination of guys, and I think there's some guys who're going to stick around.

"The more experience they get, they're going to get better."

Against the Lions, rookie punter Pat O'Donnell had one of his best games with a net average of 45.7 yards on 6 punts, including 3 downed inside the 20. Newcomer Marc Mariani picked up 25 yards on 2 punt returns.

Although the Bears have struggled on special teams most of the season, DeCamillis knows he will be evaluated on the results and not the ever-changing personnel. And he's fine with that.

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"Yeah, it's fair to evaluate me because we're paid to produce, just like the players," he said. "It doesn't make any difference who's playing out there. You've got to play sound and play well, and we've got to do that."

Missing in action:

The Bears' already struggling defense will be without Lance Briggs for the final four games because of a groin injury, and coach Marc Trestman said the loss will be felt in many areas.

"It's tough; it's leadership, it's experience." Trestman said. "I'm just disappointed for him, personally. I been a rough couple of years for him with the injuries that he's had.

"When he's played, he's played extremely hard, and he's been an important element of this organization not only the last couple years since I've been here, but obviously throughout his career.


"He's been an influential leader in the locker room and obviously a tremendous football player on the field."

Running on empty:

Marc Trestman was asked about the offensive line's reaction to last week's game plan, which featured 51 pass plays and 8 runs. Seven if quarterback Jay Cutler's kneel-down at the end of the first half is eliminated.

"I've been down that road," Trestman said. "Our guys are locked in. Every offensive line wants to run the football. We all want to run the football.

"But we put game plans in to do what we think is best for the team that day against that specific team.

"They're a prideful group, but I think they understand. Certainly it didn't go the way we wanted, and that's why we're working at it today.

"We've talked a lot about it. We're coaching through it, and we're going to try to do a better job this week and on Thursday night against Dallas."

Competitive advantage:

Safety Chris Conte's injury on Thursday initially was reported as a concussion, but then changed to "eye."

An official injury report isn't required until Monday, and coach Marc Trestman declined to offer any clarity Sunday.

"I think the best clarity I can give you is what the injury report says (Monday)," Trestman said.

"I'm not a doctor, and we'll wait until (Monday) because that's when decisions have to be (made) on how these reports come out, with all due respect."


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