Matt Nagy’s team came a long way in a short time a season ago. How can the Chicago Bears get to South Florida and win Super Bowl LIV?
After finishing last in the NFC North for four consecutive seasons, you had to figure a 12-4 record and the team’s first NFC North title since 2010 would be cause for celebration in Chicago. But the team’s second postseason appearance this decade ended a little too quickly for first-time NFL head coach Matt Nagy and the Bears.
The team seemed to be on a roll late in the year, closing the regular season with four straight wins – including a prime time win over the eventual conference champion Los Angeles Rams. But Nagy’s club ran into a little Nick Foles playoff magic in the wild card game and Cody Parkey’s latest doink (which was partially deflected) ended the Bears’ Super Sunday hopes.
There have been a few subtle changes this offseason, the biggest being the departure of celebrated defensive coordinator Vic Fangio – now the head coach of the Denver Broncos. In his place is Chuck Pagano, who has earned his own reputation on this side of the ball. This is a talented team with championship aspirations. So how can the Bears get this done in 2019?
5. Solidify the kicking position
Tryouts for the placekicking duties in Chicago earlier this year had an “American Idol” feel to them. These days, it’s down to a pair of specialists in Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. The latter was acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders this offseason.
On Thursday night in a 23-13 preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers, both players got an opportunity to kick off. Fry connected on a 43-yard field goal and a PAT. Pineiro missed from 48 yards out but was successful from 23 yards. So has anything been settled yet? And when asked if the team’s placekicker is currently on the roster, well…
“The best thing I can do to answer that question,” said Pineiro to J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago, “is make all my field goals and try to do the best I can so that won’t happen. But it is what it is. Whatever happens, happens. I understand that it is a business.”