Pineiro, Fry continue to battle for Bears’ job

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With the Bourbonnais portion of training camp having ended Sunday, the Bears’ highly-publicized kicking competition moves north to Halas Hall with no clear leader.

By unofficial count, Eddy Pineiro has made 47-of-56 kicks in practice (83.9 percent) while Elliott Fry has connected on 48 of 59 attempts (81.4 percent).

Fry performed better in last Thursday night’s preseason opener, however, making both of his kicks, a 43-yard field goal and an extra point. Pineiro missed a 48-yard field goal attempt wide left before rebounding to hit a 29-yarder later in the game.

“They’re probably exactly where I thought they’d be,” said coach Matt Nagy. “I mean, it’s one preseason game. I'm anxious to see how this thing is going to go after four total preseason games and really hopefully they can get some decent attempts and we get a feel for it.”

The Bears will continue their preseason slate with road games on artificial turf against the Giants this Friday and Colts Aug. 24 before returning home to Soldier Field for their exhibition finale versus the Titans Aug. 29.

“We’re evaluating them,” Nagy said. “Looking at what they do in these preseason games is going to be the true test really. We’re looking for that production. Sometimes I have to catch myself. We expect them to make every single kick that they kick. And if they don’t, we go back to the shoulder shrug because of our expectations. What’s real is that there’s not a kicker in the world that makes every single kick. So we’re just trying to balance that. And I think the true test will be in the preseason.”

Pineiro and Fry are both pleased but not satisfied with their performances up to this point.

“I feel like I’ve kicked well,” Pineiro said. “I feel like we’ve both kicked well. I think I have, I’ve just got to show it in the games now. I missed one. But you’re going to miss. As a kicker, you’re not going to make every single field goal. So it’s just how you bounce back.”

“I think I’ve done well,” Fry said. “As a kicker, you want to be 100 percent no matter what, so if you came in here and were 99 percent, you’re going to want to strive to get 100. You can always improve, but I thought I’ve done well.”

The kickers are well aware of the intense scrutiny that’s been focused on their battle.

“Yeah, it’s a little exhausting,” Pineiro said. “Just every day you feel like, ‘Oh damn, if I miss this kick am I going to get cut? Are they going to trade for somebody else?’ It does get annoying, but I can’t control any of that. What I can control is showing what I can do on the field, and hopefully we get some more opportunities this next week.”

Pineiro and Fry understand that they could both lose the competition; general manager Ryan Pace made it clear during his pre-camp press conference that the Bears would continue “scouring the waiver wire” and monitor other kicking competitions throughout the NFL.

“I’m not just competing against him and he’s not just competing against me,” Pineiro said. “We’re competing against all the other kickers right now in the preseason. So it’s not if he misses one or I miss one or whatever. No, we’re competing against everybody else.”

“That’s what you know going into any situation,” Fry said. “Whether you’re a 10-year veteran, if you don’t perform, teams are going to look elsewhere. You’re not just competing against the guy here. We are competing. We’ve known that for the whole time.”

The two kickers currently on the Bears roster obviously know how they can keep Pace’s eyes from wandering elsewhere.

“The only way I can control that is by making kicks,” Pineiro said. “I’ve just got to keep making kicks and bouncing back from last game and showing that I could be the guy and show off my leg strength. Hopefully we get some more opportunities. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

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