After several kickers have come and gone this offseason, the Chicago Bears have finally whittled their search down to one. Eddy Pineiro is the last man standing with the release of Elliott Fry earlier today. For now the job is Pineiro’s, but as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that doesn’t mean the Bears are done looking at kickers.
The Bears wanted to release Fry with two weeks of preseason remaining so Pineiro could get all the reps leading up to the season opener, but he knows that he still has to perform. “Honestly, it doesn’t change anything. Still gotta make kicks,” Pineiro said today at Halas Hall. “If I don’t make kicks, I’m going to be gone like everybody else.”
Pineiro can now buckle down and focus on being the guy. “The way I look at it, I feel I haven’t won the competition. Everything’s still open, who knows if they bring someone else in, but it does give me a confidence booster. I have a shot to be the guy and prove to the coaches that I can be the guy that they want me to be. I feel a lot more confident.”
Head coach Matt Nagy said of Pineiro, “For right now, we feel good where he’s at,” but he also said they could add another kicker.
The Bears acquired Pineiro from the Oakland Raiders for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2021, and while in possession of a booming leg, his accuracy was something that had to be coached up. During training camp he was more accurate than Fry (84.2% to 81.4%), and during the two preseason games Pineiro was 3 for 4 in field goals, while Fry was 1 for 2 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points. On kickoffs, Pineiro has one touchback on 3 attempts and Fry had none on his three kickoffs.
For those wondering, Carolina Panthers’ kicker Joey Slye, who seems to be the odd man out for the Panthers with veteran Graham Gano holding their job, hasn’t missed a kick this preseason. He’s 5 for 5 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points. He’s also boomed 7 of 9 kicks into the end zone for touchbacks.