Bears’ kickers don’t mind the training camp competition rotation
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Their competition won’t be televised yet, but the pressure is on for a pair of kickers at Bears training camp.
Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro have taken center stage at Bourbonnais during the opening days of camp. That’s intentional since the team is looking for a guy to perform under pressure after letting Cody Parkey go after his miss at the end of a Wild Card loss to the Eagles in January.
Matt Nagy is also rotating his kickers on purpose, too, as he looks to increase the stakes in the competition.
One kicker gets the duties each day, with it alternating so far during the three open practices. So one of the kickers — either Fry or Pineiro — goes up in front of the crowd of fans and peers to make some kicks under pressure each day.
“That was pre-meditated. That’s a part of this process,” said Nagy when first asked on Saturday about having Fry take all the kicks in practice. “We’ve decided to give each one of those kickers a full day. So they’ll alternate; we don’t care about weather, we don’t care what’s scripted for that practice.
“Whatever happens that day, that kicker can mentally prepare and understand that today is his day,” he said.
That was Saturday for Fry, who got the crowd fired up by making a 60-yard field goal. Pineiro got his chance on Sunday, and didn’t disappoint, asking to try a field goal a bit longer than the one his competitor hit the day before. He’d knock down a 63-yarder to end his day, with Fry following that up by hitting 8-of-10 kicks in the rain.
It’s early success for both kickers in what figures to be an evaluation that lasts through the end of the preseason. Expect the rotation to continue as long as practice does, but neither one of the guys competing for the vacant job seem to mind.
“I think it worked really well,” Fry said. “Number one, it lets us kinda rest our legs. Obviously, that’s a big deal with kickers, making sure your fresh every day. But I think just not having, you know, confusion and getting some rhythm going where you that today’s your day, just like it would be in a game.”
“You’re not going to be in the season splitting reps between someone; it’s going to be your day and your going to go for it. So it makes it as game-like as possible,” Fry said.
Pineiro is used to competing in an NFL camp, having done so last year with the Raiders before landing on injured reserve for the season, so naturally, he’s a fan as well.
“I love it,” said Pineiro of splitting the days up. “I think alternating days is awesome. It gives the whole day for that person, instead of going 1-1-1-1. So I think it’s a good idea. I like it.”
The Bears hope they do, because they need to bring out the best in them now to make sure they’ll do the same on the field in the fall and winter.