clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro’s final test: Slay Soldier Field

To make the team, he needs to kick well at the Bears’ home stadium. Thus far this preseason, he’s 4-for-4 on field-goal tries on the road and 1-for-2 at Soldier Field.

Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro made 1-of-2 field goal tries in the Bears’ last home game.
Getty

The original plan called for Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro to travel Tuesday to Soldier Field to practice. The field, however, wasn’t set up for kicking, he said. He wasn’t sure why.

‘‘They just said we couldn’t be out there,’’ he said.

Instead, Pineiro stayed at Halas Hall. The wind was violent enough, he said, to test him. Forecasts call for similar conditions in the Bears’ preseason finale Thursday against the Titans at Soldier Field.

‘‘Windy?’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘Good. We like that.’’

One way or the other, the game will mark Pineiro’s final test. To make the team, he needs to kick well at the Bears’ home stadium. Thus far this preseason, he’s 4-for-4 on field-goal tries on the road and 1-for-2 at Soldier Field.

But Pineiro said his Family Fest performance, in which he made all 12 tries in front of 18,797 fans at Soldier Field, should count for something.

‘‘I feel like every game you have to show these guys that I’m hopefully the guy,’’ he said. ‘‘But the big day for me was the Family Fest day. . . . They know I’m capable of kicking well at Soldier Field. I just have to prove it now. That’s the goal.’’

Nagy sure seemed pleased after Pineiro made a 58-yarder Saturday against the Colts in Indianapolis.

‘‘It’s definitely looking good for us — and I hope it stays that way,’’ he said Tuesday.

That depends on Pineiro’s performance against the Titans.

‘‘He’s gonna have however many Bears fans that are there watching him,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And knowing you have that, [plus] it is outdoors — it’s not inside, like it was in Indianapolis — every kick that he gets, we’re all going to be evaluating him.’’

Slaying Soldier Field in the summer should be a much easier task than in the later months. The winds that pick up in the late fall and early winter have baffled even the Bears’ best kickers.

As much praise as Robbie Gould receives for taming the stadium, he was a better kicker on the road during his Bears career. From 2005 to 2015, he made 83.2 percent of his field goals at home and 87.8 percent on the road.

The Bears’ second-best kicker, Kevin Butler, had an even greater disparity. From 1985 to 1995, he made 67.9 percent of his field goals at home and 78.1 percent on the road.

Cody Parkey made 73.7 percent of his field-goal tries at Soldier Field last season but 80 percent in road games.

‘‘My goal is to make the team and prove to these guys that I can be the guy for Week 1,’’ Pineiro said. ’’That’s what I want to do the next game.’’

He’s cautious about getting too excited about his status, which seems more stable than at any point during the Bears’ kicking derby. One reason is his experience with the Raiders last preseason. He made all three of his field-goal tries during the preseason but hurt his groin Aug. 15. He thought he would miss two regular-season games, but the Raiders put him on injured reserve the day before cuts were due. His season was over.

‘‘I was only supposed to be out two weeks,’’ Pineiro said. ‘‘They were like: ‘Hey, we’re going to stash you. We’re going to get you ready for the next season. You’re going to be here for the next 10 years.’ I was happy because they believed in me. And then they traded me.’’

The lesson?

‘‘I think that’s just part of kicking,’’ he said. ‘‘Everybody’s a journeyman.’’

Pineiro, however, hopes to find a home here this week. He’ll have a week to leave the team hotel for more permanent digs if he makes the Bears. He said he thinks he’ll look for an apartment in Lake Forest.

But first things first.

‘‘I’ll start looking after the game [Thursday], depending on what they say,’’ he said.