Bears

Bears add tight end depth, claim J.P. Holtz off waivers

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USA Today

Bears add tight end depth, claim J.P. Holtz off waivers

The Bears claimed tight end J.P. Holtz, who was released by Washington this week, and waived defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson on Wednesday, adding some depth to their tight end room. 

The 26-year-old Holtz played in his first NFL game on Sunday, when Washington promoted him from its practice squad to active roster with tight end Jordan Reed out. Holtz played 14 special teams snaps but did not play on offense. 

The 6-foot-3, 255 pound Pitt alum last played in college in 2015, finishing his career with the Panthers with 81 catches for 931 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was on practice squads for the Cleveland Browns and Washington from 2016-2018. 

Holtz caught five passes for 63 yards during preseason play this year, and has 10 catches for 89 yards with one touchdown in 15 career preseason games. 

The Bears kept four tight ends on their initial 53-man roster, though were without Trey Burton (groin) for their season opener last Thursday. Unless the Bears were to view Holtz as a better in-line blocking option than converted tackle Bradley Sowell, their best-case scenario is having him be inactive on Sunday — meaning Burton would be back in the lineup. 

If Burton is inactive, expect Holtz to be active on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Coach Matt Nagy reiterated that Burton — who did practice Wednesday — remains day-to-day. 

“We’ll just see how he goes, how he is,” Nagy said. “I mean, in Trey’s case, just so as we go here, I cannot be any more honest or forthcoming on Trey Burton. I mean it. I’m telling you. Everything I’ve got, I’m telling you. We’re going to see how he does. If he does good, let’s see how he does the next day. And then if we get to it and we feel like he’s good to go, we all collaborate on it, let’s go. If we don’t, then we’re not.”

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Week 3 injury report: Eddy Pineiro questionable

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USA Today

Week 3 injury report: Eddy Pineiro questionable

It appears the Bears will face a little more uncertainty in Monday night's contest with the Redskins than originally anticipated. The team released an updated Week 3 injury report Saturday that lists four key players -- Trey Burton (groin), Eddie Jackson (shoulder/knee), Kyle Long (hip) and, in a late-week turn of events, Eddy Pineiro (knee) -- as questionable:

Eddie Goldman, who was limited in practice on Thursday with an oblique injury, was a full participant Friday and Saturday and does not have an injury designation in the most recent report.

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Eddy Pineiro’s leg injury throws Bears’ kicking status into flux, again

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USA Today

Eddy Pineiro’s leg injury throws Bears’ kicking status into flux, again

Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro was a surprise addition to the team’s injury report Saturday afternoon, and is officially listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against Washington with a right leg injury.

Coach Matt Nagy sounded optimistic the injury is “minor” in nature, and said despite feeling some pain Pineiro did kick in practice on Saturday. But the mere inclusion of him on the injury report raises concerns about the Bears’ kicking situation only six days after it appeared to have been solved with Pineiro’s game-winning 53-yard kick against the Denver Broncos.

“I think what we’ve got to do as these days go by let’s just see where he’s at,” Nagy said. “I’m going to be on the cautious side with him and we’ll just kind of feel out the pain part and if it’s something that’s going to affect him, then we’ll have a decision to make. If not — hopefully he’ll be okay.”

Nagy said the injury occurred in the weight room at Halas Hall, and stressed the cautious approach he and the Bears’ training staff is taking to Pineiro. And the Bears’ coach consistently presented an optimistic outlook for Pineiro when answering questions from the media on Saturday.

Still, if Pineiro cannot play on Monday, the Bears will be in a bind. Punter Pat O’Donnell has never attempted a field goal in his NFL or college career, though Nagy did say O’Donnell “has some experience.” The most recent memory of O’Donnell working on field goals came during halftime of a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, when then-kicker Cairo Santos was hurt, though he didn’t attempt a kick in the second half of that contest. 

“I don’t want to rush to judgment yet,” Nagy said. “That’s not where we’re at. I really do think that we’ll be okay. We just want to make sure that we’re doing everything the right way with him, with his pain, and we’ve got to communicate with him, see how he feels, and it’s probably going to be one of those deals where in a couple days where he’s at and we’ve got to make a decision.”

So all of a sudden, Pineiro’s status will be critical to monitor in the hours leading up to Monday night’s game (the Bears have to submit inactive players 90 minutes before kickoff). If Pineiro is unable to play, will the Bears actually use O’Donnell for field goals? Or will Nagy lean into his aggressive nature and try to convert fourth downs and two-point conversions?

It feels disappointing for the Bears to even have to entertain these questions at this point. If Nagy’s optimism proves to be founded, the Bears won’t have an issue Monday night. But if they do, it’ll put plenty of pressure on a sputtering offense to make sure a game against a winless team doesn’t come down to another kick.

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