Ron Rivera tried to ice Bears kicker to help Matt Nagy
The Chicago Bears have been employing unconventional methods throughout offseason activities and training camp to shore up their shaky situation at kicker, and an assist from Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera on Thursday night certainly helped the team’s cause.
During Thursday’s preseason game, Rivera called a timeout ahead of Bears kicker Elliott Fry’s 43-yard field goal attempt on the final play before halftime. Rivera said after the game that he attempted to ice the kicker to assist Bears head coach Matt Nagy’s evaluation process.
“You know what is funny, I did that to help the Bears because they are in a kicking contest,” Rivera said, per ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson.
Rivera’s bid to ice Fry was to no avail, as the Bears kicker drilled the kick through the uprights to give Chicago a 10-6 halftime lead. That said, Nagy was grateful for Rivera’s gesture, saying it “wasn’t planned, but I’m kind of glad he did it.”
The Bears unsurprisingly have placed a premium on its kicking situation in the wake of the stunningly heartbreaking manner of their playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Then-Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winning kick at the end of regulation, a whiff now infamously referred to as the “double-doink” thanks to how the football clanked off both an upright and the crossbar.
Parkey ran afoul of Bears brass with his antics after the missed kick and was cut loose. The competition for kicker is now a two-man race between Fry and Eddy Pineiro.
Given how Nagy has seemed incapable of getting over the nature of the Bears’ brutal loss in the wild card round last season, odds are any help offered by opposing coaches will be much appreciated.
That said, the fact that Rivera — a Super Bowl-winning Bears legend from his playing days, it merits noting — helped out certainly is interesting. While the Bears and Panthers don’t play during the regular season, imagine if a playoff showdown between the two teams came down to the foot of Fry. Rivera could end up kicking himself for what he did Thursday night.