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Maynard zeros in on personal goal
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Columnist

Punter Brad Maynard has placed 32 kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He would like to reach 40.

 

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Published: 12/10/2008 12:02 AM

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Brad Maynard has a commanding lead among NFL punters with 32 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line, a statistic the 12-year veteran considers of utmost importance.

Oakland's Shane Lechler is next with 27, but Maynard wants more than to lead the league. He wants to surpass his personal best of 36 punts inside the 20, which he achieved in 2001.

Maynard always has wanted to hit the 40 mark, which has been done just once in NFL history, by San Francisco's Andy Lee (42 last season).

Maynard placed 4 of his 6 punts Sunday inside the 20 and allowed just 2 return yards despite nippy conditions that seemed to affect Jacksonville's Steve Weatherford as it has many other visiting kickers at Soldier Field.

But Maynard played high school football in Indiana (Sheridan), then at Ball State in Muncie, Ind., and for four years with the New York Giants before joining the Bears in 2001.

He's probably more familiar with kicking in inclement weather than anyone, and he usually gives the Bears an edge in that phase of late-season games.

"I don't know what it is," Maynard said. "I wish I had an answer. I almost feel like everybody else falls off, (but) I stay the same.

"My numbers don't exactly shoot up in that kind of weather, but it seems like the guys I go up against go down a lot of times. I can't believe I just said that before a game. I should say that at the end of the year, not now."

Mistakes happen: Kyle Orton's performance Sunday, his best in six weeks, would have been even better had his receivers not dropped at least 4 catchable passes.

But that's just football, according to the Bears' quarterback, whose passer rating of 85.3 was his highest since his 114.5 against Minnesota on Oct. 19.

"It's certainly part of the game, especially when you get into December - cold weather and poor field conditions," Orton said.

"So that's certainly going to happen. Drops are always going to happen. The day I don't miss a throw is the day I can complain when someone drops a football."

Injury update: Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee), tight end Desmond Clark (hamstring), fullback Jason McKie (quad), wide receiver Marty Booker (ribs) and running back Garrett Wolfe (hamstring) all missed practice Tuesday.

Harris and Clark are expected to play. The others are not.

Comings and goings: The Bears signed wide receiver Devin Aromashodu (uh-ROME-uh-shuh-dew) from Washington's practice squad and placed nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek on injured reserve. Dvoracek started 12 games this season and had 40 tackles with 6 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

Aromashodu was drafted by Miami in the seventh round (233rd overall) in 2006. He appeared in six games last season with one start, all with Indianapolis, and had 7 receptions for 96 yards (13.7-yard average).

The Colts waived him after this preseason, and then he was signed to the Redskins' practice squad in early September.