Robbie Gould is in a slump. A bad slump. For a kicker, being able to make that game winning, or game tying kick is vital. The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” business.
Gould just signed a 4 year deal at the end of the 2013 season, and is signed through 2017. A few bad games does not necessarily translate into immediate dismissal. He has been one of the most reliable kickers, not only in Bears history, but the NFL as a whole. We don’t know if he is battling a mental or physical issue, or simply a bad run. We do know the Bears changed long snappers 2 weeks ago, and that Gould’s slump started then. Not sure what was wrong with the old long snapper, but Gould was good with him.
What we don’t want is a clown show that we saw at the end of Kevin Butler’s tenure with the Bears were running in kickers every week. The kicking scene in the NFL today is a lot stronger than it was in the 90s. There are a lot of good young kickers coming into the league every year. Just take a look at the rosters and you will find a bunch of unfamiliar names.
Despite his recent slump, Gould is still making 81% of his kicks, including 5 of 7 from 50+. Robbie also kicks in one of the toughest stadiums to kick in, in the NFL.
We also know kickers can go bad for a while and come back. Look no further than Mason Crosby with the Green Bay Packers. He had an awful season in 2012, but came back and has been solid since.
The Bears will no doubt bring in competition for Gould (which he has had throughout his career) in 2016. I’m fairly confident he will beat out any competitors. That has no bearing on how he will do during the season. Hopefully Robbie can get things straightened out before 2016, which may include finding a solid long snapper, or just getting used to the one they have. The long snapper issue may be the the most important factor. Gould has had the benefit or working with one of the best (Patrick Mannelly) for the majority of his career.