Bears View Pineiro Like a Young Robbie Gould
If it seems Eddy Pineiro is getting preferential treatment after the Bears upped and kicked Cody Parkey right out the door, it's possible.
Then again, Pineiro isn't being viewed like Parkey.
Pineiro is being viewed like a young Robbie Gould.
The Bears are trying to develop their own young version of Gould. This was the aim they voiced when they tried to address the kicking situation rather than just sign a veteran castoff.
Casting off Pineiro also would show a lack of confidence in their entire process to find an answer at kicker.
"I've gotta make all my kicks," Gould said. "But I'm learning on my way."
Gould is 12 of 17. After 17 kicks, Parkey had made 13 and went on to miss seven on the year before the double-doink.
When the Bears signed Gould after a tryout, he struggled initially and made only 4 of 11. They could have let him leave at that point. Instead, former GM Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith wanted him to develop, and he did and eventually missed only two more kicks.
Hopes are this happens with Pineiro.
"It is what it is," special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. "He's a young kicker. He's hit a little bit of a rut, and our job is to get him back in a groove.
"There's a difference between a rut and a groove, and that's what we’re working on."
Part of the development process is getting used to Soldier Field as well as kicking in different climates. Pineiro was a warm-weather kicker from Florida who hasn't had to do this.
"This is my first time kicking in the cold, different situations with wind and stuff like that ... learning experience," Pineiro said. "Gotta be confident and go out there and try my best."
In fact, the weather had something to do with Pineiro missing against the Rams twice. He'd been kicking it in the cold in Chicago and said he was clobbering the ball because it loses distance in lower temperatures. Then he tried to overkick in warm weather and hooked it. The second miss he tried to compensate and left the ball out right instead of kicking through it.
"Obviously the coaches believe in me and I appreciate that," Pineiro said. "Now I just gotta prove to them on Sunday I’m the guy they’ve always picked and just gotta prove to them."
On Wednesday, Pineiro made 21 of 23 field goals in a workout at Soldier Field, according to Tabor.
"He's a guy that's kind of battled the odds all his career," Tabor said. "You know? This is probably the first time that he's kind of faced adversity a little bit in some respects. I mean, if you think about the University of Florida, I don't think he missed a kick his first year. His second year he misses one. And then he goes to the Raiders and fights through the adversity of an injury and those type of things.
"We've had a little bit of adversity this year and he's come over on the other side each and every time. But he's a confidence kid. And I don't see any bugs in there or snakes in his head that I'm worried about."
At least there's nothing in there to indicate he can't develop into a good kicker.
Miss a few more and the narrative could change.
"You need to make kicks," Tabor said.