Mike Glennon struggled against the Arizona Cardonals on Saturday, and while Mitch Trubisky wasn’t much better, he has proven to be a better quarterback through two preseason games. And, in any case, Josh Sitton’s 81.1 grade was actually the best score handed out to a Chicago Bears offensive player by Pro Football Focus after Saturday’s win.
“O’Donnell accomplished a rare feat this week, as he averaged 51.8 yards per punt while nailing all four inside Arizona’s 20-yard line. With just two of them being returned for a total of seven yards, his 50.0 net average was best among punters with at least three kick this week.”
With no other punters in camp to provide competition, O’Donnell has the safest job on the special teams unit.
Even still, O’Donnell’s job is an important one because of the conservative nature of John Fox’s offenses. Nothing served as a better reminder than Chicago punting on a 4th-and-13 from the Cardinals’ 45-yard-line to end the team’s first possession. Being on that level of conservative play during a preseason game is something else, and shows that at least Fox is in midseason form. Alas, O’Donnell was (and will continue to be) tasked with ensuring the Bears win the field position battle with punts that land inside-the-20.
O’Donnell owned the seventh lowest punting average (44 yards), third lowest net (38.4), and finished tied for the ninth most touchbacks (5). However, his 24 punts inside the 20 were the 17th most in the NFL last year. These numbers have to improve across the board for him to be at peak effectiveness. Perhaps Saturday’s performance was a start.