Matt Nagy defends Bears' search for new kicker after backlash from several prospects

Matt Nagy defends Bears' search for new kicker after backlash from several prospects

Matt Nagy is sticking by his decision to bring multiple kickers to rookie minicamp in May on a tryout basis.

Nagy received criticism for the way the Bears handled the offseason kicker search specifically from the players who left without a contract.

“I understand — we brought in a lot of kickers that came in here,” Nagy said Wednesday, via ESPN. “To me, I look at it as a positive, in the fact that we said we’re going to turn over every stone to find whoever’s out there. We felt like we, at that point in time, when we brought in a bunch of kickers, we’re going to test them all out and see what they can do.

“And then, within that time frame, we also put in some situations with the Augusta silence early on to see how they could handle it. Is it exactly the perfect science? I don’t know that, maybe not … I just really like how we’re going through this thing. (Bears general manager) Ryan (Pace) and I talk about no regrets, right?”

In a Sports Illustrated story published the same day as Nagy’s comments, several kickers complained about a number of issues they had with the way Chicago conducted camp, including Nagy’s obsession with Cody Parkey’s double-doink, 43-yard miss in the playoff loss to the Eagles and kicker consultant Jamie Kohl, who the Bears hired to help with their search.

One kicker told SI:

“All of Jamie’s guys, they could have shanked the kick, and it was like, ‘Oh, you have really good rotation, your foot is wrapping around the ball.’ I don’t think this situation will be solved or will be what the team needs to be until Jamie Kohl is gone. The way he very much tries to control a room, tries to be the alpha.”

Former Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon went on record, saying: “It’s not efficient for the team to continuously beat that one dead horse the whole time. You have to build a system of confidence for your kicker. I don’t think that’s how the Bears are running it.”

The Bears had two kickers at the beginning of training camp, but they recently waived Elliott Fry, which left Eddy Pineiro as the lone kicker.

Pineiro, who has never attempted a kick in an NFL regular-season game, will take all of Chicago’s kicks in its last two preseason games.

“I really don’t believe there’s a kicker out there that never misses in practice and in the games,” Nagy said. “It’s how you respond to it … so we keep that in mind.

“Remember what I told you before, it’s really easy in Chicago as a head coach of the Chicago Bears, as a fan of the Chicago Bears, as the media of the Chicago Bears, as the team of the Chicago Bears, it’s really easy for us to just destroy every missed kick. And I think we have to keep those things in a little perspective and not get too crazy over a missed kick here or there.”

The Bears will end exhibition play with games against the Colts this Saturday, and the Titans next week before opening up the regular season against the Packers on Sept. 5.