New Bears player Trenton Gill can’t do much now to show how he will adapt to the tough climate at Soldier Field, but he has already shown that he can change 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 kicking,” Gill said of Hightower. “Most special teams guys are more special teams, and they don’t really understand the full aspects of the specialists.”
By this, Gill meant the coordinators knew how to organize the teams’ special returns, coverages, blocking, tackles and other aspects but not the actual kicking or shooting of the ball.
The Bears faced this situation in the aftermath of the Cody Barkey disaster when they had to hire kicking counselor/coach Jimmy Cole to help them find a replacement.
Obviously, they wouldn’t need to worry about any of this with the Hightower.
“But it was great,” Jill said. “I love him. I love working with him. I love meeting and watching movies with him. He has had some great advice for me.”
However, the advice Hightower gave has nothing to do with kicking it.
Gill said, “With constipation, he taught me something. And I was like, ‘Man, why didn’t I do this all the time? But I appreciate him and what he gave me.'”
Jill, who will be challenged by veteran roster Ryan Winslow, takes over as Cairo Santos in kicks that formerly had Pat O’Donnell.
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No word from the Bears on whether Jill will start either. He has a strong leg and sprint as well as kicks in college.
It would make sense if he was able to do that. When Jill is on the field, he gives them a 6-foot-4, 219-pound player as a potential striker when kickoff.
When Santos starts, he gives them a 5-8, 175-pound athlete as a striker at kickoff.
However, the actual launch is key, and Jill will need to prove he can do so.
As for the weather issue, Jill clearly had no experience riding and cruising in the harsh weather he would see in Chicago. He was born, raised and went to college in North Carolina. They didn’t play games in sub-40 field conditions like the bears they could encounter from Halloween until the end of the season.
However, Jill already has a solid concept when it comes to dealing with such a difficulty.
“I think it’s just kind of focusing on my style, focusing on my look,” Jill said. “No matter what the circumstances, I still have to throw the ball. It’s the same punctuation. It’s not really something different. It’s really the same thing. But you just have to kind of take into account the elements if it gets to be pretty extreme.
“I just try to focus on getting better every day, getting better at dropping (the ball), getting better at kicking, catching, everything. Those are the big things I’m working on.”
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