Ron Rivera did his part to help his former team in its quest to solve its place-kicking conundrum.
Check it out:
I asked Rivera about icing the kicker in the second quarter and he very transparently admitted he did it to help the Bears. He knows they’re trying to find a kicker.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 9, 2019
Rivera called a timeout to ice Bears kicker Elliott Fry before he could attempt a 43-yard kick into the north end zone in the final moments of the first half of the Bears-Panthers preseason game. That’s right. We’re talking about the same stadium, distance, and direction as Cody Parkey’s ill-fated double-doink that ended Chicago’s postseason run before it could really get started.
The result? Much different than what we saw in January:
BOOM! Right down the pipe. Just how we like it!
It was a classy move by Rivera, to be sure. But the moment belonged to Fry, who took full advantage of the first preseason game by making a kick en route to getting an edge in the Bears’ kicking competition. In addition to that 43-yard boot, Fry also nailed the only extra-point he tried. Two kicks and no dinks makes for a solid preseason debut.
As for Eddy Piñeiro, he split his two chances in front of the Soldier Field faithful. Piñeiro made a 23-yard field goal, but hooked a 48-yard try that had the distance but was off-line from the start. Piñeiro has opened eyes with his leg strength this summer, but television analyst Jim Miller brought up a good point that could ultimately help Chicago make its kicker decision.
“Clearly, it’s about consistency,” Miller said after Piñeiro missed the 48-yard kick. “You can have the biggest leg in the world, but it’s about getting it through those uprights.”
Piñeiro certainly has the leg, but Fry looks to have the more consistent mechanics and has extended professional experience under his belt having made all 14 of his kicks in the AAF. And while the Bears are not going to declare a winner this early in the competition, Fry angled himself for an early lead in the race (thanks in part to a popular former Bear).