With the Minnesota Vikings trading for Baltimore Ravens kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik, one obvious option for the Chicago Bears to solve their kicking issue is off the table.
According to the team's official website, by unofficial count Pineiro has made 47-of-56 kicks in practice (83.9 percent), while Fry connected on 48-of-59 attempts (81.4 percent). In last week's preseason opener, however, the success was flipped with Fry nailing a 43-yard field goal and an extra point, while Pineiro missed a 48-yard attempt and later hit a 29-yarder.
The coach isn't ready to name a leader as we head into the final three preseason tilts and instead will let the competition continue to play out.
"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."
The kickers are well aware of the scrutiny they're under trying out for a team that believes it can compete for a Super Bowl if the kicking situation can be resolved.
"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."
A trade is one possibility hanging over both kickers' heads, as general manager Ryan Pace said before training camp he's open to swapping a pick for the right deal. The Bears reportedly called the Ravens about Vedvik but were outbid by a division rival. It could come back to bite Pace if Vedvik turns out to be one of the many successful former Ravens kickers milling around the NFL and solves a divisional opponent's kicking problem, while Chicago's two young options both collapse.
"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 duo has three preseason games left for one man to set himself apart and grab the gig.
"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."