CHICAGO

After a Year with Parkey, Chicago Bears Searching for a New Kicker

Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry, and Eddy Piniero. Which one of these guys will be the new Chicago Bears’ kicker?

If you watched the 2018 NFL season/2019 NFL Postseason, what was one of the biggest surprises to you?

For me, it was the Chicago Bears making the postseason for the first time since 2010. As someone who has followed the Bears since I was old enough to know what football was, this brought major joy, excitement, and a sense of relief to me.

Another one of the biggest surprises to me was, in a microcosm of the Bears’ season, the lack of effectiveness from former Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowl kicker Cody Parkey.

Going into the 2018 season, after going through four kickers the year prior (Roberto Aguayo, Mike Nugent, Cairo Santos, Connor Barth) following the release of all-time leading scorer Robbie Gould, the Bears wanted to turn to a reliable leg. Why not Cody Parkey, the former Pro Bowler who played a huge part in the Eagles’ 2014 season?

It sounded like a good idea at first. Going into last season, Cody Parkey made 83.8 of his field goal attempts (in five seasons). He was coming off a career season with the Miami Dolphins, who he made 91.3 percent of his kicks with.

Last year, Parkey did not perform up to expectations. He was someone who the Bears though could mirror Gould’s success. In all 16 regular season games (and one postseason game), Parkey made only 23 of his 30 field goal attempts, his lowest in his short five-year career. His career in Chicago was marred by his missed field goal attempt in the Wild Card Round of last year’s NFL Postseason against his former team.

Due to Parkey’s inconsistency, the Bears have gone into this offseason with the priority of finding a replacement for Parkey. So far, the Bears’ kicking competition consists of former University of Pittsburgh kicker Chris Blewitt (punny, I know), former University of South Carolina kicker Elliott Fry, and former University of Florida kicker Eddy Piniero, who hit an 81-yard field goal with pads on in a practice.

Each of these candidates would be a great choice for the Chicago Bears. Going into their first preseason game (Thursday, August 8 vs. the Carolina Panthers), I would not be surprised to still see all three of these guys on the roster. There will be cutdowns at some point, but for now, the Bears should relish this opportunity they have.

Goodbye, Parkey, and hello…

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