The kicker competition at Bears training camp has been an ongoing delight for anyone who is neither a Bears fan nor a kicker auditioning for the job. Nine—one two three four five six seven eight nine—kickers were initially rounded up and cast in Matt Nagy’s weirdly self-loathing quest to somehow banish all traces of the double-doink from our dimension. That process had its final dress rehearsal Thursday night, in a Bears exhibition against the Titans, with Eddy Pineiro, the tenth kicker, on the cusp of seizing the job.
Pineiro banged home a 58-yarder against the Colts in Chicago’s last preseason game, which is a pretty good indication that he’s got the leg for the job. With no other kickers left in camp, Thursday night was essentially a formality. And then Pineiro stepped up for an extra point following a first-quarter Bears touchdown, and yanked the kick so hard to his left he even missed the damn net they use to keep the ball from sailing into the stands:
Pineiro recovered nicely, banging home three relatively short field goals without another miss in what would end up a four-point Bears loss. And the conditions were far less than ideal due to swirling wind, making Pineiro’s successes somewhat more impressive and his miss somewhat more understandable. Nagy talked up Pineiro resilience after it was over, but notably was careful to couch an answer about Pineiro’s development in terms of if he is the team’s starting kicker in Week 1. There’s still time for the Bears to swoop in as kickers are discarded around the league in final roster cut-downs.
For his part, Pineiro said, “I felt like I gave it all I’ve got,” which is both admirable and possibly concerning. This was not exactly the confidence-inspiring finale Matt Nagy and Bears fans were hoping for. The quest continues.