It appears the Bears are making progress toward identifying a successor to Cody Parkey at the PK position.
After all, what started as an eight-man competition at the Bears rookie minicamp just one month ago has now been boiled down to a three-ring circus with Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddie Pineiro the only surviving contestants.
Actually, when there were eight guys, three holders and three long snappers, circus was about the only descriptor that came to mind, but that seems a bit harsh now as Blewitt, Fry and Pineiro all seem to have legitimate shots at becoming good NFL kickers.
Following Wednesday’s OTA, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor met with the media and gave us a quick thumbnail on what he sees in each of his three remaining pupils.
“Chris, we liked him. He has a big leg. He has hit some big game-winners.
“You go back to when he was at Pittsburgh and hit it against Clemson on the road there with two seconds. That said something about him. A 48-yarder from the right hash, if memory serves me correctly, which it does.
“Elliott Fry is a guy that didn’t miss in the AAF — 14/14 there.
“He hits a straight ball. If he does leak a little bit, that thing is leaking straight. He hits a really good ball.
“And then Eddy was the Gatorade Player of the Year in high school in soccer.
“He has leg talent, there’s no doubt about it.
“I think we have three guys with three different qualities. They’re all battling, and it will be interesting to see how it’s going to play out.”
So who are these guys?
Blewitt got here first and he’s not shy about correcting head coach Matt Nagy.
“No, I’m not French and my name is Blewitt, not Bluay. I don’t even speak French.”
On a more serious note, he told me just after last month's rookie minicamp he thinks just the pressure of trying to make an NFL team is as great as any the Bears can manufacture.
“Really, I mean I just know there are curveballs, so I prepare myself mentally the same way everyday, coming out in practice as if I was going out to the games, not really doing anything different because then you start preparing differently for different situations and that’s not really being as consistent as you want to be.”
Fry is here at least in part on the recommendation of the Bears new kicking coach, Jamie Kohl. “Yeah, back in high school (I worked with him), I’m definitely familiar with him (Jamie Kohl)," he said. "I think a lot of kickers go to a plethora of different kicking coaches, picking up things here and there.
“He’s a good guy. We’re lucky to have him here helping us and adding another resource to what’s available to us.”
The most recent arrival and seeming frontrunner is Pineiro, whom the Bears acquired from the Raiders in exchange for a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick — a move that surprised him.
“Honestly, I have zero expectation whatsoever," he said. "I didn’t even think I was going to get traded, so at this point, I don’t even know what’s going on, to be honest.”
But one thing all three are learning about is what Tabor and Nagy call the “Augusta Quiet.”
Tabor explained, to some serious laughter from the media Wednesday, the Bears latest efforts to test the nerves of their kickers.
“Maybe it just randomly happens that at some point in practice, it could be in the middle of a drill, offense and defense, they just have to leave and they go to the side of the field and we put him (a kicker) out there and it's a pressure-packed situation, kicker might not know when it's coming.
“No one talks. No one talks, It's as, it'd be like this (silence) it's that quiet, honestly.
“So therefore how does he handle adversity?”
It’s not exactly a 43-yarder from the right hash with time expiring in the playoffs, but for now it’s the best the Bears have to try and find their new kicker.