Bears to stick with Pineiro as starting kicker

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears will open the regular season Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers with Eddy Pineiro as their starting place-kicker, coach Matt Nagy announced Sunday.

"We feel like he's certainly earned it," Nagy said. "We put him -- he made it through a lot of mental challenges, physical challenges, working through the highs and lows.

"It'll be fun to watch. It'll be interesting to see how he handles it. But he deserves it. He earned every right to be our kicker. And we feel good about it."

Pineiro was the lone kicker on Chicago's training camp roster for the final two exhibition games after the Bears waived Elliott Fry on Aug. 18.

Pineiro made eight of his last nine kicks in the preseason, including 5-for-5 on field goal attempts in Chicago's final two preseason games. Pineiro did badly miss an extra point attempt in the Bears' exhibition finale against the Tennessee Titans.

"Now it's a big stress off the shoulders," Pineiro said Sunday. "Just got to make kicks now, do what I've been doing this preseason. I've been making kicks."

Pineiro, whom the Bears acquired via trade with the Oakland Raiders, spent Sunday morning kicking at Soldier Field before returning to the team facility. An undrafted rookie out of Florida last year, Pineiro has yet to attempt a kick in an NFL regular-season game.

"I mean, it's a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders," Pineiro said. "Excited to be the guy; and this organization believes in me, and -- giving me a shot to be where I'm at, and I just want to make them happy."

However, Nagy cautioned that Pineiro must produce in order to keep the job.

"In the end, for all of us, it's about production," Nagy said. "When are those kicks coming? How often are they coming? And he knows that. We're real with him. We're honest with him. But we try not to think of the glass-half-empty type deal. He's got real good confidence going about him right now. We as a staff have a real good confidence going about us. We feel good about it."