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Shocking: the Bears have kicker problems


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1 hour ago, The_Romen said:

Santos was good a few years ago ... Came here and had injury problems. Worth a look.

I agree.  Piniero should have some decent competition and Santos is an experienced vet we've signed before.

Santos has been good from under 40 yards and on XP but has been poor on 40 yard plus attempts.  IMHO Piniero is likely to get the job but these days you gotta have another PK on tap in the event of an injury to your #1 guy. Groin injuries seem to happen often these days and a bad one will take you down.

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Bears’ addition of Cairo Santos might indicate plan to keep 2 kickers as COVID-19 protection
Cairo Santos during training camp Tuesday. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune )
By Brad Biggs

Eddy Pineiro’s curious absence from Saturday’s controlled scrimmage at Halas Hall made the Chicago Bears’ addition of Cairo Santos, which became official Tuesday morning, more interesting as the Tribune reported Pineiro is nursing a groin injury.

But of all of the developments over the weekend in relation to Santos’ return to the Bears — he was with them briefly during the 2017 season after Connor Barth was released — the nine false positive COVID-19 test results the team received in the wee hours Sunday is a far better explanation for another kicker coming on board than a soft-tissue injury.

The Bears remain hopeful Pineiro will be back at full strength soon, and they very well could be preparing to carry two kickers during the 2020 season — one on the 53-man roster and a second on the expanded 16-man practice squad.

The alarming false positives, an error by BioReference Laboratories in New Jersey that forced 11 NFL teams to scramble Sunday morning, raise new questions with the season less than three weeks away. What if this happened Sunday, Sept. 13, and Pineiro was one of those with a false positive test? Worse, what if he contracted the coronavirus just before game day? The Bears would be forced to have punter Pat O’Donnell assume kickoff duties, not a huge problem, but would be in a jam on extra points and even chip-shot field goals.

The NFL and NFLPA are still working through the details of how testing will work around game days. Current league protocol forces a player with what is believed to be a false positive test to be out for at least 24 hours, during which he must test negative twice. So if Pineiro was tested Saturday and it came back positive and then tested negative Sunday morning, he would have to test negative again Monday morning before being allowed to rejoin the team. In that scenario, he would miss a Sunday game.
And if Pineiro tested positive for COVID-19 on a Thursday and indeed had the virus, and the Bears didn’t have an alternative in the building, they could be in a real jam for a Sunday game. New players have to test negative for two days before they can join the team. For example, Santos was first tested Saturday and again Sunday before he was able to sign a contract Monday.

So if Pineiro tested positive on a Thursday, the Bears would have to have an option in the area to get him tested that day, have him tested again Friday and then sign him Saturday. The NFL does not process roster moves on Sundays, so the timeline later in the week becomes tricky. How many free-agent kickers are a quick drive from Halas Hall?

Coach Matt Nagy hinted at Santos being more than just camp competition — or a kicker to handle chores in the event Pineiro is sidelined with the groin injury this week. The team returned to the practice field Tuesday morning.

“It goes back to that contingency plan, backup plan that we have,” Nagy said after Sunday’s light walk-through. “That’s been going on for a long time. I’m not saying specifically Cairo, but we need to have another kicker on this roster. It’s just, that position, knowing kind of where the COVID testing is right now, we all feel it’s very important that you have somebody that can come in if something was to happen to Eddy.

“In regards to Cairo, I’m excited to get him in here and now we feel more confident with that, in that situation.”

Even in the interim between the release of Ramiz Ahmed at the start of training camp and the arrival of Santos, Pineiro has been forced to compete when he has been on the field. The Bears were happy with where he was when camp opened.

“It’s different for a kicker because they are competing against themselves and yet competing against the rest of the league,” special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. “And it’s so easy. It’s about makes and misses and obviously you want to have more makes. So the pressure of that is if a guy doesn’t go out there and perform, then teams have to make a decision on what they are going to do. Whether there’s another person there or not.

“We know that our position … I said it last time: We haven’t arrived at that position at all. So we’re looking forward to this next challenge, and he just has to keep progressing and getting better.”

Nagy was an assistant with the Chiefs when Santos broke into the NFL in 2014, making 25 of 30 field-goal attempts as a rookie. He was 86 of 102 (84.3%) through his first three seasons and had become a fixture in Kansas City before suffering a groin injury early in the 2017 season that sidelined him and opened the door for Harrison Butker to replace him.

Santos, 28, signed with the Bears in November that year, but it turned out he returned from the injury too soon and aggravated the groin in warm-ups before a game against the 49ers. He has bounced from the Jets to the Rams to the Buccaneers and last season to the Titans as he attempts to re-establish himself.
The Bears wanted to push Pineiro with competition in training camp, but there was a clear difference between Pineiro and Ahmed, who didn’t last long. The hope is Santos is steady, and if he is, Nagy at least has left some bread crumbs that suggest Santos might stick around.

Six players on each team’s practice squad can have unlimited accrued seasons, so there will be no issue for the Bears to keep Santos, quarterback Tyler Bray or other experienced players. Teams also will have the option of elevating one or two players from the practice squad to carry a 48-man game-day roster this season, and those players would not have to clear waivers to be returned to the practice squad.

The Bears are, at minimum, putting a plan in place to carry two kickers, and Santos has a crack at sticking around even if Pineiro returns to health quickly.

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52 minutes ago, beardown3231 said:

At first glance he was worse than Pineiro last year. I'll have to look closer at how he was from longer range, but overall he was worse

I think that's just last year, though. Although I could well be wrong about that. 

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On 8/28/2020 at 10:44 PM, beardown3231 said:

Oh for sure. Hauschka's had some good years, but perhaps last year is the start of a decline for him. The team that knows him best just cut him, so it's possible.

Well, hell. Why don't we just say perhaps this year could be his start to a hall of fame career.

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On 8/26/2020 at 1:44 PM, soulman said:

Nagy has already indicated they plan to keep two PKs so I'd say that has as much or more to do with signing Santos than any basic dissatisfaction with Piniero.

I think this move has more to do with Piniero's health than anything. He was good last year before he got injured. 


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