Dialing up the pressure on tryout kickers in June isn’t easy, but leave it to Head Coach Matt Nagy to find a way.
At the end of the team’s final mandatory minicamp practice on Thursday, Nagy challenged Elliott Fry and Eddy Piñeiro to make 40-yard field goals. And in an attempt to crank up the pressure, Nagy put a unique incentive in place. If the kickers were successful in their tries, the team would avoid running sprints to close out practice. But if they missed, Nagy would have the team run “gassers” to close out the final practice.
Talk about pressure! Thankfully for the players, Fry and Piñeiro were up to the challenge.
“They both nailed two 40-yarders down the middle,” Nagy said, via the Bears’ official website. “If you heard any cheering, that’s why. It was a win for them today.” VICTORY!
The Bears have used various unorthodox methods to evaluate the kickers on their roster throughout the offseason. Between giving the team’s place-kickers the silent treatment, narrowing the goal posts, using technology to track kicks and their flight paths, and even hiring a consultant, I can’t help but tip my cap for the creativity that has been displayed.
Kickers haven’t been popular folks in Chicago since Robbie Gould left town. And while the Bears still don’t have a certified answer to their kicking conundrum, kudos to the team’s decision-makers for finding different avenues in an attempt to figure this thing out. Whatever they were doing before clearly wasn’t working, so trying something radical here and there could ultimately be helpful — even if we won’t know for a while.