Eddy Piñeiro is easy to root for – he has confidence, a strong leg, and the necessary self-awareness that could help him get through the rigors of a 16-game season kicking in the Chicago pressure-cooker. But here’s the thing: Piñeiro might not be the guy who is kicking for the Bears when things open up on September 5.
Kalyn Kahler (SI.com’s The MMQB) checks in with an update from Bears camp, reporting that “there’s still a very good chance the winner of this Bears kicking competition is not currently on the roster.” GULP!
Kahler takes note of Piñeiro’s strong leg, but also underscores that he has yet to show the reliable consistency that the winner of this competition should have displayed by now. The hope is that Piñeiro will find consistency with his mechanics and stroke with a full slate of practice reps and every possible kicking opportunity over the next two weeks now that Elliott Fry isn’t looming over his shoulder pushing him. But if Piñeiro doesn’t take full advantage of the situation and strut his stuff to the highest degree, there appears to be a pretty good chance that the Bears could move on in favor of a kicker who is in someone else’s camp.
For what it’s worth, there are a slew of worthwhile options who could become available for Chicago after cutdown day reveals each team’s 53-man roster. We powered through 15 candidates who could catch the Bears’ eye at some point, and it wouldn’t surprise me if one or two kickers would be favored over Piñeiro if all things were equal.
This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. After all, Head Coach Matt Nagy was non-committal when talking about Piñeiro as his team’s Week 1 kicker after waiving Fry to clear the path for Piñeiro. But still … I’m nervous as heck for where the Bears are right now without a sure-fire kicking option.