After spending the first five days of our Windy City Gridiron Chicago Bears round table on the defense, today we’re tackling the special teams and wondering about kicker Eddy Piniero.
After an near circus atmosphere at times last year with several kickers vying to replace ‘He who shall not be named,’ the Bears settled on Piniero and his 2019 wasn’t bad.
He fought though a mid-season injury that coincided with a poor stretch, and the Bears seemingly didn’t trust him to make long field goals, but this is the norm for first year kickers. Heading into year two he’s healthy, he’s added some leg strength, and the Bears liked enough of what they saw from him to cut the only other kicker in camp.
But from a fan’s perspective...
Are you comfortable with Eddy Pineiro?
I’ll give my take after seeing what my WCG teammates have to say.
UPDATE: The recent revelation that Pineiro has been dealing with a groin injury may have us rethinking some of our responses.
Jacob Infante: As of now, yes. All things considered, Pineiro was pretty average in his first season as the Bears’ kicker. He finished as the No. 18 kicker in the league in field goal percentage, as well as the No. 19 kicker in extra point percentage. Given the team’s recent struggles at the position, that’s not too shabby. While appearing to be a poor kickoff specialist, the Bears do have Pat O’Donnell, whose 64.1 yards-per-kickoff average placed in the top 10 league-wide on a limited sample size. Pineiro does have potential as a field goal kicker and should be trusted in the role in 2020, but I would like to see him improve in the 40- to 49-yard range, as he missed four of his seven attempts from that range last year.
WhiskeyRanger: Comfortable enough. We’ve got to give him a chance to develop. He was inconsistent last year (by modern kicking standards), but with a full year under his belt and less hoopla surrounding the position this off-season, the arrow seems to be pointing up.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter: Yes, very comfortable. Let us not forget that Robbie Gould kicked 77.8% of his kicks during his first full season in 2005. Eddy Pineiro recorded 82.1% in his “rookie” season last year. We’ve really got to just sit back, be patient, and let Pineiro develop. It’s the only way this kicker situation will be resolved long-term.
Bill Zimmerman: I thought Pineiro had a better rookie season than most people, so yes, I’m comfortable with him. Pineiro hit 9 of his first 10 FG attempts of the year and also made his last 11 tries as well. He hit a 4-game bump in the middle of the season where he was 3 for 7 on FGs and missed an extra point.
Pineiro seems like a worker and has the right mindset for a kicker. I think Pineiro smooths out those inconsistencies and we see improvement out of him this season. I have confidence in Pineiro being the Bears kicker for this season and moving forward.
Jack Salo: Piniero under-performed in the second half of last season, and with Chicago being a notoriously difficult place to kick, one has to wonder if the colder weather played more of a factor than Pineiro gets credit for. A 53-yard game-winning make against the Broncos is matched by the 41-yard miss against the Chargers, so the jury is still out about how “clutch” Pineiro is, but at the end of the day it’s about how confident the coaching staff is in him. I have my doubts after watching them go for it on 4th down a few times in 2019 while in sub-50 yard field goal range.
Ken Mitchell: Comfortable with any Bears kicker not named Gould? No. I’m not really worried about Eddy though.
Robert Schmitz: Not really, but to be fair I haven’t been comfortable with any of the kickers we’ve had since Robbie Gould left. Piniero finished with an 82.1% FG% in 2019, which would be pretty good (18th in the NFL) if he hadn’t gone 3/7 from between 40-49 yards. NFL games are often defined by made/missed kicks from beyond the 40 yard line, so to see Piniero go 5-10 from that mark has me worried. He was a hero against Denver in Week 2, but his misses against the Changers and Rams hurt badly and played a major role in each loss, so both his heroics and his mistakes have to be weighed equally. Piniero has a lot to prove this year, and hopefully he proves believers right.
Aaron Leming: I am, personally. I understand the team wanted to give the illusion of competition with Ramiz Ahmed but let’s be honest here, Pineiro’s job was never in peril.
With that being said, I’m less comfortable with how the Bears have handled their kickers in the Matt Nagy era. One week he has confidence, the next he doesn’t. Pick a lane and stick in it. If you don’t have consistent faith in your kicker, then the right leg isn’t on the roster. I’ve also never been a fan of them setting a yard limit pregame based on where Pineiro was comfortably making kicks from in pregame. Let the kid kick. He’s clutch, has a good leg and he’s put on some bulk this off-season. If he’s healthy, he’s going to take a big step this year. The coaching staff can’t allow themselves to hold him back with their waffling of confidence in him, though.
Robert Zeglinski: I’m not wholly comfortable with Eddy Pineiro, but to be quite honest, I truly do not care one iota about any kicking competition anymore. Last off-season was such a mismanaged, overanalyzed circus perpetuated by the Bears themselves that I can’t stand hearing about this anymore. It was and remains embarrassing. It’s peak Football Brain.
Pineiro’s fine. He’s not Adam Vinatieri. He’s not a Hall of Famer. But he’s fine. Moving on to other minutiae to blow out of proportion.
Sam Householder: Not really. It’s hard to have a team that’s perennially as inept on offense as the Bears and not have a money kicker to cover for them. The Bears are in all likelihood going to be trying to eke out 13-10 and 17-13 games for the 77th consecutive season and when you play with fire like that it’s nice to have a Robbie Gould or a Kevin Butler in your corner. That’s not to say that Pineiro can’t become that, but based on his one season we just haven’t seen it enough.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: The only way for NFL kickers to get better is to kick in NFL games. The kicking issue during the Ryan Pace regime can be traced back to when the dumped Gould, and while I was against that move, I understood it from a business standpoint. But what I never understood was them not going out and getting a young kicker that could grow with the team back then. The constant rehashing of struggling veterans was a waste of time. Had the Bears fould their “Pineiro” back then, this team wouldn’t be in the kicking situation it has been, and they might have had a trustworthy wildcard kicker in 2018.
And to answer the question, yes, I’m comfortable with Pineiro... for now.
Are you comfortable with Eddy Pineiro?
This poll is closed
I still cry my self to sleep thinking about Robbie Gould...