How Tarik Cohen shed a little humor on sad Bears kicking situation

Cohen misses from 23, after Chris Blewitt was cut earlier in the day to leave the Bears with two kicking candidates.

If the Bears kicking situation wasn't so sad, it would be comical.

Maybe that's why coach Matt Nagy on Wednesday seemed like he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

In actuality, it was pretty comical thanks to Tarik Cohen.

With only Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry kicking after Chris Blewitt was waived earlier in the day, Cohen decided to put his foot in the ring. He tried a 23-yarder and stubbed a miss badly, all of this unseen by Nagy.

When Nagy found out from the media about Cohen messing around with the kickers, he made the most of it.

"Tarik did? No. He’s lucky. Because I would have chewed his tail out," Nagy said.

And then, of course, the natural question, chiefly because — let's face it — the Bears at this point might be interested if Cohen could make one.

"Did he make it?" Nagy asked.

Told it was no good from 23, Nagy was stunned.

"Twenty-three? That’s from the 13-yard line! Jeez." he said. "That’s embarrassing. I’m going to get on him for that. That’s not good. But he shouldn’t be doing it."

When one press box wag wanted to know why he shouldn't, Nagy said: "Why not? I might bring you out to kick this training camp."

Then Nagy walked away from the press conference to laughter.

The question is who actually will be kicking in camp for the Bears. Right now it looks like Fry and Pineiro.

Both had better days in Wednesday's practice than on Tuesday, when they joined Blewitt in missing from 42 yards in front of the whole team, 20 to 25 former Bears on the sidelines and the assembled media corps.

Nagy said there is no guarantee either kicker will be the winner of the competition, and that there's not even a guarantee both will be at camp.

"Here’s what I’ll say: We’re always going to be put into a position to where if don’t feel like we have the answer, we’re always going to look," Nagy said. "We’re going to do that with every single player." Nagy wants to see more kicking like he saw Wednesday, except not like what Cohen did.

"They need to win to the job," Nagy said. "At the same time, they realize up to where we’re at right now that we got to keep evaluating them. And yesterday, yeah, it wasn’t a good day. They know that. It doesn’t take much to see that, and they want to be better. But they’ll be better.

"We’re going to keep moving with this thing and letting them know that we’re going to keep supporting them but, in the end, it’s about production. So with every position, we’re always going to try to stay open."

Letting Blewitt go after he'd been at Halas Hall since March 6 wasn't part of any grand plan to reduce the competition to two at this point.

"Well for us, we don’t have any set days where we say 'hey, we're going to cut somebody here, we’re going to have this number of kickers here or there,' " Nagy said. "We just, we have enough and we had enough after yesterday up until that time on all the guys.

"Again, we collaborate, we talk about it, we know through more than what everybody just sees publicly. There’s other stuff, other kicks that go on and so that's just the direction that we decided to go and we wish him nothing but the best and now here we are with these two guys."

It almost seemed the Bears tried to send a message to the other two kickers by cutting Blewitt.

"That wasn't the intention," Nagy said. "But at the same time that's what they see, that's what our team sees. And so now today, when they're put in a similar situation as yesterday and knowing what happened yesterday ... then you understand that it naturally just creates more pressure.

"Any human's going to feel that way. I was proud of those guys for being able to bounce back today and then make those kicks."

Nagy said the pressure should remain high on both kickers on into training camp.

"It should be," he said. "Nobody here is saying that it shouldn’t be any other way. We understand that. We know that it’s not going to be easy.

"We have two guys right now with us that are very, very inexperienced. And so we gotta keep that in mind and so again, that’s where we’re at. So we gotta just make sure that we’re evaluating as best we can just knowing that come Week 1, that’s a big hole that we gotta fill."

Nagy is looking forward to seeing how the kickers respond to pressure at training camp, where they'll be kicking in front of a crowd of fans besides players and media. And they'll also be facing a live rush.

"I'm excited for it because that's more real," he said. "For them, they're in a position, it's totally different when you're standing out there on your own — it's like shooting that free throw on a technical. There's no one around the key.

"Well, it's the same way when you're kicking like yesterday when they missed them, there's no one out there. That's not necessarily, that's not real. But there are some reasons behind it. It's to see mentally how you handle things."


Comments (6)
No. 1-4

Eddy all the way


2 guys is good for camp. Then cut one after second preseason game and wait to see who gets cut by other teams and sign one to have a one-day kicking competition against the lone remaining guy. Unless they really like the guy who's left on the roster but so far it doesn't seem like anyone is stepping up


Trade for Robbie and forget all this bs.


Don’t want to hear more about bad kickers being bad