Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera did the Bears a solid when he iced kicker Elliot Fry ahead of a 43-yard attempt in Preseason Game #1 (something he later admitted was done on purpose to help his former team). But because that might not have been enough, it looks like Rivera might have done a little more.
Check it out:
While Fry passed the Cody Parkey test and Eddy Piñeiro missed on his first opportunity to show his powerful leg could also be accurate, the most impressive kicker to step on the Soldier Field turf might have been Joey Slye, the guy trotted out by the Panthers because regular kicker Graham Gano is battling a tired leg in camp.
In addition to having a cool name, Slye kicked well at Soldier Field. He made field goals from 29, 42, and 55 yards en route to a perfect day kicking. A strong showing at the home of the Bears will keep Slye kicking into preseason Week 2 for Panthers, as Carolina continues to evaluate the injury that is keeping regular kicker Graham Gano on the sidelines. Between that and Kaare Vedvik being off the market, Slye should be the new potential kicker target Bears fans should be talking about.
Bill Voth (Panthers.com) paints the Panthers kicker as a deeply motivated soul. After being turned away by the Buccaneers and Browns last summer, Slye had stints with the Giants in May and July, but both ended with cuts. But rather than let the bitter taste of being discarded put him down, Slye insists on pushing because he promised his brother (who passed away in 2014 after battling leukemia) he would make it to the NFL. On top of having an easy-to-root-for story, Slye has showed off a big leg this summer. Slye has made kicks from beyond 55 yards in camp and ended a practice with a successful 66-yard boot.
Successful training camp kicks are neat, but I still can’t get over Slye hitting this 55-yarder with ease:
Big leg? Check. A unique prospect pedigree as Virginia Tech’s all-time leading scorer? Double check. A made-for-TV storyline that will draw fans into his corner? Triple check.
I’m not saying this all sets up for the Bears to have their eyes on making Slye their next kicker, but it is time to put him on the radar as a possible candidate if things go south with Fry and/or Piñeiro.