Matt Nagy Addresses 'Sports Illustrated' Article on Bears' Kicking Competition

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy answers questions during a news conference after the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 32-13 in a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears are Super Bowl contenders, but the mess surrounding their kicking game continues to be a primary storyline as they look to put Cody Parkey's missed field goal at the end of last season's playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the rearview mirror. 

On Wednesday, head coach Matt Nagy addressed a story from Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated that featured complaints from some who tried out, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com:

"I understand—we brought in a lot of kickers that came in here. To me, I look at it as a positive, in the fact that we said we're going to turn over every stone to find whoever's out there. We felt like we, at that point in time, when we brought in a bunch of kickers, we're going to test them all out and see what they can do.

"And then, within that time frame, we also put in some situations with the Augusta Silence early on to see how they could handle it. Is it exactly the perfect science? I don't know that, maybe not...I just really like how we're going through this thing. [Bears general manager] Ryan [Pace] and I talk about no regrets, right?"

Dickerson summarized some of the complaints from the kickers who participated in tryouts and practices this offseason, noting they ranged from a problem with Nagy harping on 43-yard kicks—the exact distance of Parkey's miss—to favor being shown to those who worked with kicker consultant Jamie Kohl in the past.

"It's not efficient for the team to continuously beat that one dead horse the whole time," former Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon said of the consistent focus on 43-yard kicks, per Kahler. "You have to build a system of confidence for your kicker. I don't think that's how the Bears are running it."

It's not difficult to see where Yoon is coming from when evaluating what will happen this season.

If Nagy continues to bring up last season's playoff failure, it will serve as a backdrop for every field goal this season. Fans will be even more upset with each missed kick, the narrative will continue even if the Bears play well and whoever does kick field goals for the team will be working under even more pressure.

It appears that will be Eddy Pineiro, who Chicago acquired from the Oakland Raiders via trade.

Andie Hagemann of NFL.com reported the Bears waived Elliott Fry on Sunday, leaving Pineiro as the only kicker remaining on the roster. However, Hagemann stressed Pineiro hasn't won the job just yet because Nagy said the team will monitor other options.

Pineiro hasn't attempted a regular-season field goal in his career, but he will be under a bright spotlight if he does for Chicago.