The Bears waived kicker Chris Blewitt Wednesday, reducing — for now — their battle to replace Cody Parkey to two men: Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry.
"We collaborate, we talk about it, we know through more than what everybody just sees publicly. There’s other stuff, other kicks that go on and so that’s just the direction that we decided to go and we wish him nothing but the best and now here we are with these two guys," coach Matt Nagy explained Wednesday following the second of three minicamp practices prior to a five-week break preceding training camp.
Like Blewitt, Pineiro and Fry missed their 42-yard FG attempts at Tuesday's minicamp practice. But in their first practice since Blewitt's exit, they rebounded Wednesday, with Pineiro converting both of his attempts, from 45 and 53 yards, and Fry making 2-of-3 from the same distance. (Fry converted his first attempt from 53 but not before a timeout and bad push on the second attempt prior to getting another shot from the same distance and connecting to conclude practice.)
It was a better day, but no kicker should feel comfortable and the field might continue to be the best bet for Chicago's kicking duties in Week 1.
"That wasn’t the intention," Nagy said when asked if seeing Blewitt get his walking papers ratcheted up the pressure on Pineiro and Fry. "But at the same time, that’s what they see, that’s what our team sees. And so now today, when they’re put in a similar situation as yesterday and knowing what happened yesterday or this morning, then you understand that it naturally just creates more pressure. Any human’s going to feel that way. I was proud of those guys for being able to bounce back today and then make those kicks."
When asked whether the Bears' Week 1 kicker might still not be on the club, Nagy said the Bears are constantly evaluating every position on the roster. Of course, none is under greater scrutiny than kicker, Chicago's most wobbly spot since Robbie Gould was released following the 2015 season. The Bears are paying Cody Parkey more than $5 million not to kick this season after he was released in the wake of his infamous "double-doink" at expiration of the wild-card defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles and subsequent appearance on the TODAY show.
"We’re going to keep moving with this thing and letting them know that we’re going to keep supporting them but, in the end, it’s about production," he said. "So with every position, we’re always going to try to stay open.”