Bears notebook: Cole Kmet making an early impact — as a blocker

The rookie tight end’s slow start in the pass game — one catch for 12 yards — is not a concern; Sherrick McManis (groin) is the only player to miss practice with an injury.

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Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet (85) caught this 12-yard pass from Mitch Trubisky against the Giants on Sept. 20 at Soldier Field.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photos

Rookie tight end Cole Kmet has one catch for 12 yards in his first three NFL games, but his blocking is getting rave reviews.

“Cole is steadily becoming a very good blocker,” tight ends coach Clancy Barone said. “I don’t think people saw that in him when he came out of college. We did. He’s got such strong hands [and] a very thick lower body. The guy’s got a lot of good power in him.”

Kmet’s production in the passing game is a work in progress.

“I thought it would have happened by now,” Barone said. “In the pass game, we can’t really predict where the ball is going to go. We don’t have ‘him’ routes where you just throw the ball to him. A lot of it depends on coverages and the protection and things like that.

“We’ve had some thins in the game plan where we thought he might be first in the progression and then they spin some different coverage on us. So [Kmet’s low production in the passing game] is not being done by design. It’s just the way the game plays out.”

Pineiro on hold

Kicker Eddy Pineiro is eligible to come off the injured reserve list after missing three games with a groin injury, but his return does not appear imminent.

“They’re still working through some things,” coach Matt Nagy said. “I don’t know if we’re there yet this week.”

Cairo Santos is 4-for-6 on field goals. He missed from 46 yards against the Falcons on Sunday after missing a 50-yard attempt against the Giants in Week 2. Santos is 8-for-8 on extra points.

Injury report

Special teams stalwart Sherrick McManis (hamstring) is the only player who did not practice Wednesday because of injury.

Defensive end Akiem Hicks, linebacker Danny Trevathan, right tackle Bobby Massie and wide receiver Ted Ginn had a veteran’s day off.

Safety Deon Bush (groin) and outside linebacker Khalil Mack (knee) were limited in practice.

Lightly charted waters

The Bears are looking to start the season 4-0 for just the second time since 1991. They were 4-0 in 2006, when they won their first seven games en route to their only Super Bowl appearance since 1985.

Hicks’ plea

Hicks said he was not upset when he was called for roughing the passer on what looked like a pretty standard hit on the Falcons’ Matt Ryan on Sunday. But he did make an old-school plea that surely will fall on deaf ears at NFL offices in New York.

“You accept the call for what it is,” Hicks said. “But I think I speak for people that watch the game, and they want to see people get hit. They want to see the quarterback roughed up a little bit. You don’t want him to stand in the pocket and go on vacation.

“So I accept the call for what it is, but I would hope that we would look at that maybe in the offseason and say, ‘Hey, let’s let them hit the quarterback for a second.’ ’’

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