With the opportunity to lock in his place as the Bears’ kicker in Week 1, Eddy Piñeiro went 3-for-3 with makes from 32, 39, and 34 yards out. But the lasting image (and sound) from Thursday’s preseason finale against the Titans was the ugly shank on the first-quarter extra point and the boos that followed.
Sure, Piñeiro bounced back to make three kicks later in the game. The ability to shake off an early miss and come through later is one that shouldn’t be overlooked. But that miss was so disheartening, it’s hard not to think about Piñeiro’s status as up in the air. And frankly, Head Coach Matt Nagy didn’t bring too much clarity with his postgame comments.
With the Bears' kicking decision looming, Matt Nagy said: "I want to see a great success story from [Eddy Pineiro]. … Hopefully he's somebody that we end up going with, we stick with and he wins us games. But the next couple days here, a lot of stuff can happen."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) August 30, 2019
I can’t imagine those words were too comforting for Piñeiro, who now has to wait out the next 48 hours unsure if he did enough to earn the gig. Put aside the PAT to look at the big picture, and it is easy to come away thinking Piñeiro kicked his way onto the roster this summer. Piñeiro finished the preseason having gone 8-for-9 on field goals, with the only miss being a 48-yarder in his Soldier Field debut. To have a short memory and nail eight straight kicks after that is notable. And we can’t forget that 58-yarder he made against the Colts last Saturday. It was a kick so impressive, I would argue it helped his case more than any other boot during the exhibition season.
With roster cuts due by 3 p.m. Saturday, Nagy is left to take on one of life’s great debates — to go with who you know or venture out into the great unknown to possibly find the solutions one seeks. The Bears could still browse through the waiver wire for another kicker, though it seems as if Nagy knows the risks involved if he travels down that road.
Matt Nagy on possibly replacing Pineiro w/a kicker on waivers: "So that would be a major concern, I think, if you go get somebody to come in here that’s never kicked in here or doesn’t have the experience. We’ve fought through to this point right now. And I like where he’s at."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) August 30, 2019
All things equal, Piñeiro secured a job … right? He nailed 88.9 percent of his field goal attempts, knocked through seven touchbacks, and rallied from some adversity along the way. In any other camp, that is probably enough to get the gig. But still … I can’t escape the feeling that we’re not quite out of the woods yet.