Every year brings to the forefront a number of players who will change the landscape of the NFL season.
Last year, when the Bears acquired Khalil Mack, we saw an extreme example of a player single-handedly becoming a game-changing and division-altering presence. Fast forward a year, and the Bears have another player who figures to be an X-factor this season. Unfortunately, that player doesn’t even have a name at this time.
The Chicago Bears’ “Kicker to Be Named Later” checks in at No. 7 on Mike Tanier’s list at Bleacher Report featuring the NFL’s 10 most important players entering the 2019 season.
How important is it that the Bears find a kicker? So much so, Tanier writes: “The fate of the entire NFC may rest on the feet of guys named Eddy Piñeiro or Elliott Fry.” GULP.
The Bears are coming off a 12-win season in which they snatched the NFC North crown away from their rivals in Green Bay and Minnesota. And while last year’s team was good, the group that comes back features 9 returning starters from the league’s top defense and 10 returning starters from an offense that has some upside after jumping from the bottom-of-the-pack to be a respectable, middle-of-the-bunch group in Matt Nagy’s first year running the show in Chicago.
As currently constructed, these Bears don’t have a major weakness on the depth chart because they have drafted and developed well, while also bringing in the right type of free agent addition. And yet, the one position that has been a bug-a-boo continues to be just that as we prepare to turn the calendar to July. Ugggggggh.
If the Bears can successfully find a reliable kicker, their status as Super Bowl contenders will be cemented. But if they don’t, we might need to break out our scientific calculators to figure out if they are better off going for 2-point conversions and giving up the kicking game altogether.
So … no pressure, guys.