The Kaare Vedvik fantasy was fun to talk about, but it’s over now. The Chicago Bears remain where they’ve been for the past month. Embroiled in the kicking competition between Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. To date it’s been relatively even. Both have had their high moments and low moments. Pineiro was perfect at Soldier Field during Family Fest but then missed his first kick of the preseason. Fry was a bit more erratic in training camp but nailed all his kicks in the preseason opener.
People are debating which has the edge to this point. Only the Bears know for sure who they like best. However, a recent development has offered a clear hint that Pineiro has conceded to Fry. He just doesn’t realize it. The revelation actually came from a seemingly innocent question from Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.
Is the lack of job security leading to stress? Here is Pineiro’s answer.
“It can be a little exhausting,” he said. “Every day you feel like, ‘Oh damn, if I miss this kick, am I going to get cut? Are they going to trade for somebody else?’ It does get annoying. But I can’t control any of that.”
Fairly honest. One would think it doesn’t mean much. That is until Fry gave his reply. In this, it becomes obvious who has taken control of the competition.
“That’s with every kicking situation, not just the Bears. If you don’t perform, they’re going to look elsewhere. So you just have to focus on your kicks. If you can make your kicks when they count, if you have a really good preseason, it’s going to be hard for them to turn you away.”
Elliott Fry showed he has superior mental toughness
Pineiro’s answer to dealing with the high pressure of the competition may seem innocuous until one connects these statements to the preseason opener. The fact he missed his first field goal attempt after weeks of talking a big game about his self-confidence says so much. As for Fry, his own words back up his performance. His job isn’t to assure people he can be the guy. His job is to show them. That happens by hitting the kicks.
He’s approaching this like a business interview. Either he gets the job or he doesn’t. Blaming the Bears for their interview process isn’t going to accomplish anything. His job is to show them he can handle what they’re asking of him. This team feels like it can get to a Super Bowl. They need a kicker they can trust when the actual pressure starts to build in December and January.
If these guys can’t handle the stress now, then there’s no way they can when it gets real. Fry proved with that answer and his play that he is up to the challenge.