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Chicago Bears 2019 Position Battles: The Specialists

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The latest in Lester’s Chicago Bears Training Camp preview series is all about the specialists.

Photo by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. of Serena V Photography

We all know about the drama surrounding the kicker situation for the Chicago Bears, but the other specialist positions are sure things, so this will be a quick article.

Roster Locks

The Bears only have one punter in camp, so unless there’s an injury, they’ll head into the 2019 season with Patrick O’Donnell manning that position. The last time we saw him doing his thing, he shanked a 36 yarder in the wildcard game, but before that bad ball, he placed 4 of his previous 5 punts inside the 20 yard line.

O’Donnell was known for his booming leg in college, but since coming to the Bears, he’s become more of a directional/hang time punter to help out his coverage units. O’Donnell’s punts only allowed 150 punt return yards a year ago which was 7th best in the league.

Long snapper Patrick Scales is starting his fourth year in Chicago and the coaching staff has been happy with him thus far. Unless he develops a case of the yips, he’ll be back in 2019.

A good bet to make it

(Crickets chirping)

On the bubble

The Bears do have another long snapper in camp, but rookie UDFA John Wirtel, who hails from Orland Park, Illinois and Mount Carmel High School, is likely just a camp arm.

And that takes us to the kickers...

I have zero faith in either Elliott Fry or Eddy Pineiro winning the job in glorious fashion. Fry seems to be more accurate, but he has a weak leg (*or does he?), whereas Pineiro is the opposite with a big boot, but accuracy issues. At this point in the game it could just click for either one, but the Bears are openly talking about having their options open for a reason.

Of the two, I’d take the guy that is more accurate, but I really hope Pineiro can put it together because he has the most upside.

But honestly, I think there’s a better chance that the 2019 kicker for the Bears is kicking somewhere other than Bourbonnais right now.

* EDIT: At today’s practice Fry hit a field goal from about 58-60 yards, and in one session he nailed seven in a row.

Head coach Matt Nagy also said that each kicker will alternate days so they can get in a good rhythm. He was happy with Fry today and tomorrow he’ll get to see Pineiro.