Perhaps no one on the Bears had a better Labor Day than Eddy Pineiro, who was officially named the kicker of the Chicago Bears over the long weekend.
For all intents and purposes, Pineiro already had the job. After their preseason finale last Thursday night, Matt Nagy admitted it'd be hard to envision a scenario where, at that point, anyone else would be brought in. Still, there's something different about hearing it from team officials – like Pineiro did when special teams coordinator Chris Tabor let him know the day before the deadline.
"It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders," Pineiro said on Sunday. "Excited to be the guy. And this organization believes in me, and giving me a shot to be where I’m at. Just want to make them happy."
It hasn't been an easy summer, and Nagy and Co. would be the first to admit that they maybe didn't get everything right when it came to replacing Cody Parkey. It wasn't always smooth, but Nagy, Tabor, and GM Ryan Pace knew that 'turning over every stone' wouldn't be.
"If we would just do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results, I think that's the definition of insanity," Tabor said on Monday. "So our process that we went though, I'm really proud of the process that we went through."
"The whole process that we went through, that was really the plan all along, you know," Pace added. "And the hope all along, and the optimism all along, is to hit on a young kicker than we can grow and develop. We feel like we've done that. We're very confident in him, and there was a lot of adversity but in to that plan, you know strategically so. And we think it worked out just right."
The way Pineiro rebounded after a shanked extra point attempt continued to come up in conversations on Monday, as did the way he celebrates with his teammates. Obviously none of that matters much if he's missing kicks, but the Bears – whether they'd admit it or not – are clearly pleased with how Pineiro's embracing all the aspects of being the Chicago Bears' kicker. It's part of what made Robbie Gould so popular here, and part of why Cody Parkey wasn't. Plenty in Halas Hall are happy to roll their eyes at the practice-on-Soldier narrative, but his willingness to do so goes a long way.
"[He'll practice] as many times as we can get down there," Tabor said. "Sometimes it's dependent upon the schedule, where we are playing and those types of things. I know that can be a big story. I really don't find that a story. We really need to get down there and work, make him more familiar with it, so we will continue to do that."
"... He's eager to do anything, that's why I love him the way I do. He's very coachable. The kid has talent, we just have to keep honing it in."