Podlesh suffered a left hip flexor injury in the second exhibition game against the Redskins and special teams coordinator Dave Toub said he was "very concerned." But at this point it doesn't appear that Podlesh is in jeopardy of missing the season or anything beyond perhaps the first two to four games.
What is encouraging is that undrafted rookie Ryan Quigley performed well Friday night against the Giants, landing three of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line and getting solid hang time that made it difficult for returners to be a threat. Three led to fair catches and the Giants totaled only six yards on four returns. There was a 37-yard runback but officials called two holding penalties to negate it.
Quigley had a kick blocked just before halftime to set up a touchdown for the Giants in the Bears' 20-17 victory, but it appeared to be the result of a missed block by Harvey Unga.
"Ryan Quigley did a good job," coach Lovie Smith said. "He has done that for us in practice. I like seeing a guy with a great opportunity in front of him and he steps up to the plate. He did that and I was really pleased."
But Quigley, who holds records at Boston College, has not locked up a job. He should get an opportunity to perform Thursday night in the exhibition finale in Cleveland. But the Bears also likely will continue to explore other options. The club worked out Matt Dodge last week and more punters will become available as cuts are completed across the league. Spencer Lanning, who was a camp leg for the Bears last season, is coming free as the Browns waived him. Lanning had a net average of 43.5 yards in four exhibition punts, landing three inside the 20.
Quigley understandably was thrilled after the game Friday.
"I always think back to when I was 10 years old, if you would've told me I'd be doing this, I would say 'no way,'" he said. "It's a dream come true. It was awesome to be out there. I wish we didn't have the blocked punt, but that's something we'll get fixed."
Of all the club's additions made in free agency for last season, Podlesh got the most lucrative deal at $10 million over five years. He became the first punter in franchise history to have a net average of more than 40 yards, a testament to his impact. He has missed only five games in his six-year career, sidelined with a knee injury in 2008.
Toub hasn't had to deal with many emergencies when it comes to specialists. Brad Maynard punted for 10 seasons for the Bears and missed only one game in 2007. With any luck, he won't be without Podlesh very long.