Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro’s season slides to questions of confidence, job security
It looked like kicker stress was in the past for the Bears when Pineiro made a 53-yard field goal to beat the Broncos, but his accuracy has slipped below what Cody Parkey’s was in 2018.
The promising start of kicker Eddy Pineiro’s career with the Bears has careened to the point that he knows his roster spot is at stake in the final six games of the season.
Not only is there a question about Pineiro’s long-term future in the wake of him missing four field goals and an extra point in the last four games, but the possibility of the Bears making a change before the end of the season will linger if he doesn’t turn it around quickly.
Pineiro missed wide left from 48 yards on the opening drive and wide right from 47 yards on his ensuing attempt Sunday against the Rams. Once a hero for his 53-yard game-winner against the Broncos in Week 2, he’s now 25th in the NFL with a 70.6 percent success rate on field goals. Cody Parkey got cut after making 76.7 percent last season.
It only will get tougher for Pineiro, too, with three of the Bears’ remaining games being at Soldier Field and a fourth at Lambeau Field.
‘‘Everything gets magnified, and it’s frustrating because he wants to make it,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘He’s competitive as hell. He wants to make that. He’s mad at himself. We want him to know that we’ve got confidence in him.’’
But do they? Nagy has maintained his belief in Pineiro publicly, but his in-game decisions don’t always back that up. After Pineiro’s first miss Sunday, Nagy opted to go for it on fourth-and-nine from the Rams’ 31 rather than try a field goal. He also punted with 27 seconds left in the first half instead of letting Pineiro take a shot from 55 yards.
It was reminiscent of how cautious Nagy was about using him early in the season, when he eschewed a 51-yard try against the Packers to go for it on fourth-and-10.
The alarming part of Pineiro’s misses in Los Angeles, on a perfect night weather-wise, was that he was way off on both. NBC tracked him at 3 feet wide left, then 5 feet wide right. Nagy has said since training camp that he puts a premium on kickers being able snap back from a shank.
‘‘The thing to me that was a little bit different was it was two in a row that he missed,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s what we’re working through. So when we get back out there, he’s going to make them and we’re going to get rolling.’’
Easy to say, hard to do. And the last thing a team that’s averaging only 16.9 points needs is to throw away three points here and there.
Pineiro declined to speak with the media Wednesday.
Not that anyone has been waiting on this, but don’t expect tight end Adam Shaheen back soon. He was inactive the last two weeks and didn’t practice Wednesday because of a foot injury.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan, who still is holding out hope of returning this season from an elbow injury, also didn’t practice.
Right tackle Bobby Massie exited the game against the Rams with a back injury but practiced in full.