When the Bears open training camp later this week the biggest position of competition and the biggest question mark on the team will be the kicker position. That job could hold the key to the Bears season.
Almost seven months have passed since Cody Parkey’s double-doink against the Eagles eliminated the Bears from the playoffs. Parkey’s spot on the roster didn’t last much longer, but whom his replacement will be still remains a major question mark.
We know it won’t be Robbie Gould since he re-signed with the 49ers recently. That leaves to kickers set two report to Bourbonnais this week. Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry.
“We’re excited about the two young guys that we have,” said Bears general manager Ryan Pace Sunday at a pre-camp press conference. “It’s still open for competition. Those guys are going to battle it out.”
Fry was with the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos this past spring before that league ceased operations. He made all 14 of his field goal attempts for the Apollos. At South Carolina he was the Gamecocks all-time leading scorer. He made 75% of his field goal attempts. That’s not a convincing number.
Pineiro made a school record 88 percent of his field goal attempts at the University of Florida. The Bears gave up a seventh round draft pick in May to get him from the Raiders. He was three-for-three in field goal attempts with the Raiders in the preseason last year, but an injury kept him out of the regular season.
“Eddie’s got real natural leg talent,” said Pace. “He’s got a strong leg. It’s just developing consistency as he goes forward. He’s a young kicker. Elliott a little different. Elliott’s got a pretty consistent stroke.
But neither kicker has kicked in a regular season NFL game. That’s why Pace will be keeping a close eye on the NFL waiver wire throughout the preseason to see if an experienced kicker becomes available.
“We’re watching all the teams, all the competitive situations around the league. One of them will be kicker.”
Matt Nagy will make full use of the Bears’ four preseason games to put his kickers in situations where they can prove they’re worthy of the job…or not.
“We need to figure out this position,” said Nagy Sunday. “We need to understand it’s a crucial spot for us that we’ve got to get right. I think the more opportunities that you have for these guys to prove who they are and what they can do we’ll take them.”