New Bears punter Trenton Gill can’t do much now to show how he’ll adapt to the tough climate at Soldier Field, but he’s already shown he can change some parts of his game.
He did so with the help of Special Teams Coordinator Richard Hightower.
“He knows a lot, he knows a lot about the punt,” Gill said of Hightower. “Most special teams guys are more special teams focused, and they don’t really understand all the aspects of specialists.”
By this, Gill meant that the coordinators knew the organization of special teams returns, coverages, blocks, tackles and other aspects, but not the kick or punt of the ball.
The Bears had this situation following the Cody Parkey debacle when they had to hire kicking coach/advisor Jamie Kohl to help them find a replacement.
Apparently, they won’t have to worry about any of that with Hightower.
“But he’s been great,” Gill said. “I love him. I love working with him. I love going to meetings and watching movies with him. He gave me great advice.”
However, the advice Hightower was offering already had nothing to do with kicking him.
“With the outfit, he taught me something,” Gill said. “And I was like, ‘man, why haven’t I done this all the time? But I appreciate it and what it’s given me.”
Gill, who will have a challenge on veteran journeyman Ryan Winslow’s roster, will take on the task of holding for Cairo Santos on kicks that Pat O’Donnell previously had.
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The Bears aren’t sure if Gill will kick off as well. He has a strong leg and started in addition to punting in college.
It would make sense if he is able to do it. When Gill is on the field, it gives them a potential 6-foot-4, 219-pound player as a potential tackle on kickoffs.
When Santos starts, it gives them a 5-foot-8, 175-pound athlete as their tackle on kickoffs.
The actual kickoff is key, though, and Gill should prove he can do it.
As for the weather issue, it’s clear that Gill hasn’t had the experience of cranking and starting in the harsh weather conditions he will see in Chicago. He was born, raised, and went to college in North Carolina. They haven’t played games in ground conditions below 40 like the Bears can face from Halloween until the end of the season.
However, Gill already has a solid concept to handle such difficulty.
“I think just focusing on my technique, focusing on my form,” Gill said. “No matter the conditions, I always have to kick the ball. It’s the same punt. It’s not really different. It’s really the same thing. But you just have to consider the elements if it gets pretty extreme.
“I just try to focus on improving every day, improving the drop (of the ball), improving the punt, the holding, everything. Those are the big things I’m working on. .”
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