Cairo Santos has gone from a late addition during training camp to a player experiencing a career renaissance.
The veteran kicker, who spent three seasons bouncing around from team to team, is currently riding a streak of 18 straight made field goals dating back to Week 3.
"Having a hot streak, you definitely have more confidence," Santos said Friday. "You're looser about how you approach the day. Ultimately, you have to humble yourself every single time you step on the field. There's work that needs to be [done] to make sure your technique is synchronized."
Special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor chided media members for asking about Santos' streak, likening it to a pitcher throwing a perfect game. However, Tabor mentioned that Santos has improved at more than just kicking field goals.
"I think he's kicking at a high level," said Tabor. "I really like the way he's kicking off in regards to moving the football around and limiting some field space to cover there. So he's growing in that area. We have to continue it. I mean, you're only as good as your next game."
Santos began his career with three strong seasons in Kansas City before a groin injury led to a three-year period that included stints with five different teams, including the Bears. Finally healthy, Santos has changed the Bears' often tumultuous relationship with placekickers.
Santos' accuracy has kept up even as the weather has turned cold. As a native of Brazil who played college football in the Sun Belt Conference, Santos' experience with cold weather is limited to his time in the NFL. However, Santos sees the cold weather as an asset.
"To me, it just felt great," said Santos. "My body's not really fatiguing because it's almost like you're in a cold tub. Your legs just feel fresher. I've looked forward to how I approach that mentality. To me, it's not cold anymore. It's great weather to kick. The ball just doesn't go as far."
The Bears' next two games will be inside in Minnesota and in warm-weather Jacksonville. However, Santos will likely play at least one more game in cold conditions: the Bears will host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Week 17.
However, Santos doesn't anticipate that weather will have any bearing on how he finishes the season.
"I think I sort of like the way it makes you more focused," said Santos, "more preparation involved around warming your body and kicking a good-struck ball to hold in the cold. All that, I think playing here in Chicago presented a challenge that I think is making me a better kicker, dealing with everything that we do at practice and then going to these games."
Kickers in the NFL tend to move around with frequency, but Santos believes that he has made a case that he is a kicker worth an investment.
"It's been a goal of mine to have stability," said Santos. "Every year, I've always feel I have to keep proving myself, being a better kicker every year. It's been something I've been working towards. I've had some setbacks with injuries. Every time I get to be with a team, the ultimate goal is to keep playing my dream. So, continue to just do what I can."