By: Alex Patt
Every time a Chicago Bear goes up to kick a football through the uprights, the fans hang on the edge of their seats…even in preseason. The awful memories of last year have created scars that will remain until the problem is officially fixed. Has the solution been found?
Right now, it appears that Eddy Pineiro is unofficially the guy. For now. Head coach Matt Nagy has not 100% committed to the 23-year old Florida native, but his showing in the preseason and the cutting down of kickers on the squad leaves him alone right now. People have been waiting a while to see if Nagy and/or GM Ryan Pace will bring in other veterans via trade or tryout. Other guys who were competing for the job such as Redford Jones and Elliott Fry have long been cut.
Looking at Pineiro’s log this preseason he has made 11/13 kicks (FGA and XPA) which includes a 58-yarder in Indianapolis. He had the incredibly awful miss in the final preseason game on an extra point attempt but responded by nailing a few 30+ yard field goals. His other miss came in game-one of the preseason at Soldier Field on a 48-yard attempt. Overall the body of work has been good, the only question is, will it be good enough for the regular season when the games matter?
One thing looks certain about Pineiro, he seems very confident. His reactions to making his kicks pumping his fist and celebrating with his teammates is certainly a breath of fresh air after it took a number of missed kicks for former kicker Cody Parkey to practice harder. The kid has a very strong leg, I mean he made the 58-yarder in Indy look easy. There is no doubt he has the strength. It is the lack of NFL experience that makes it pretty scary at times.
Truth is there is no nice pool of reliable and experienced kickers out there. Trading draft picks for kickers is typically an absolute last resort and it is pretty clear Pace and Nagy want to develop kicking from within. So really they have a few more days to sit over this and decide what they decide to go with next Thursday when they open up against Green Bay.
Is he the guy? It is kind of unclear and right now the body of work could indicate he is. Whether not fans think he is is up to them, but Pace and Nagy have the final say.
In a perfect world, the Bears would have Robbie Gould back. But alas, it is not a perfect world.