All eyes, headlines and opinions as they relate to the Chicago Bears center on the impending Mitchell Trubisky-Nick Foles quarterback battle.
A year ago at this juncture, the Bears had a much different dilemma to be decided and eventually Eddy Pineiro put his best foot forward and emerged from a much-publicized kicking competition.
Now, with a quarterback conundrum at the forefront, Pineiro remains, entering the season with as much job security as most kickers – which is to say not much -- and with an eye on improvement.
"The first year with the Bears was a good learning experience," Piñeiro said on Thursday night's Bears All-Access, via the team website. "I think there's a lot of room for improvement. I think I can get better. And I'm hoping for another successful year this year. Hopefully I can get my percentage up a little bit. The biggest learning experience for me was kicking in a windy game and then going to a dome, that transition. I feel like I've matured a lot as a kicker and hopefully this year goes good for me."
Pineiro outlasted Elliott Fry last summer for the kicking job, emerging from a high-profile competition in somewhat underwhelming fashion as Fry was released, but Bears coach Matt Nagy insisted the spot remained open. Thus, the scrutiny and pressure for Pineiro carried on.
At the conclusion of Pineiro's rookie season, the Florida product had converted 23 of 28 field goal attempts (82%), 23 of 25 point-after attempts (93%) and produced touchbacks on an even 50% of his kickoffs. There's room for improvement and Pineiro's planning to do just that.
Nonetheless, the Bears signed Ramiz Ahmed. Like Pineiro last year, Ahmed enters camp without any NFL experience and is coming off a year away from the gridiron. He attempted his only college kicks in 2018 as a senior at Nevada, converting 15 of 20 field goals (75%). Now, he's headed to camp to give Pineiro a run for his job.
This time around at least, there isn't the same amount of attention as it relates to a competition. And for Pineiro, the pressure is no longer new.
"Obviously, there is pressure," Piñeiro said. "They brought in somebody to compete, so I've got to compete. I've got to win my job like everybody else. Everybody has to compete and win their job."