Have there ever been times when you’re with your buddy watching a game, and think, “Being a NFL Kicker is sweet”? They don’t do much physical practice, the pay is good, and you get to be around big stars. The only problem? The amount of responsibility that comes with being a Kicker is extremely stressful. Kickers can easily win or lose you games, as all Philadelphia Eagles fans know by now. The current Kicker, Alex Henery, has become the man that everyone in Philadelphia wants gone. Can the fourth year pro get his career off life support?
When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Alex Henery in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, the organization thought they had just brought in their Kicker of the future. Henery was expected to hold down the spot for the next decade. In fairness to Henery, his rookie year was a success. He broke the NFL record for field goal accuracy for a rookie. The arrow was pointing up for Henery, but he still showed flaws with his kicking distance on kickoffs and long field goals. The Eagles thought that with time and improved technique that Henery would sure up his kicking power woes. Well it’s 2014, and Henery has arguably gotten worse. Kickoffs are still a major problem, and his accuracy has nosedived. Henery has already missed 47 yard and 31 yard attempts this preseason. So with Henery’s disappointing play, it has put the Philadelphia Eagles Kicker situation in a state of limbo.
The witch hunt for Alex Henery really started last season in week 15, when team played against the Minnesota Vikings. Philadelphia purposely squib kicked all game to keep the ball out of the explosive Vikings return game. This of course would not be a problem if Henery had the necessary leg strength to kick deep into the Vikings own endzone. Minnesota consistently had great field position, and put the Eagles defense in a bind the entire game. The Eagles got spanked 48-30 that game. You cant put the entire blame on Henery, but he was a main contributor to the loss. Shortly after that disappointing game, Henery’s inadequacies showed up once again when he shanked a key 48 yard field goal in the loss to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. That kick would’ve been the difference between the team losing and winning. Things had boiled over, and the finger was pointed at Henery. Philadelphia Eagles’ fans don’t forget. Alex Henery now had a target on his back.
This offseason the Philadelphia Eagles brought in “competition” to maybe help kick start Henrey’s progression . The team signed Undrafted Rookie, Carey “Murderleg” Spear. Spear was the talk of the offseason among fans, due to his enormous hits on kickoff coverage, thus the name Murderleg. The only problem to this Kicker competition? Murderleg cant kick a field goal to save his life. Henery has had his fair share of horrific field goals, but Spear takes the cake for ugliest field goals attempts. As of yesterday, Spear has been released, and the team traded for another undrafted kicker last week, former Indianapolis Colt, Cody Parkey. One undrafted Kicker down, and one more to go. Parkey played this past game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and had decent kickoffs, but attempted no field goals, which might be a good thing considering Henery’s current form. In short, the Eagles are scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find someone to unseat Henery. With the season approaching, the Kicker situation is in flux. Parkey wont make the team (yes I said it, bold prediction alert), and the team has pretty much given up on Henery. One solution is to look at the waiver wire in the coming weeks when teams start dropping players, but even then, is a guy who just got released really that big of an upgrade from Henery? I don’t think so. It’s looking more and more like Henery will be the Philadelphia Eagles starting Kicker in 2014.
“Carey Spear is the worst kicker I’ve ever seen.” – Reuben Frank Philly CSN
With the uncertainty at Kicker, the Philadelphia Eagles need to figure something out and fast. The amateurish play of the Kicker position will remain an issue all season if nothing is done. There are some options out there for the team to decide, but as it stands, the Eagles have serious Kicker issues. Some will say Alex Henery can maybe regain his rookie form, some will also say “even a blind squirrel finds a nut” and call his rookie year a fluke. Either way it seems that the Philadelphia Eagles are inclined to keep Henery as their kicker if there’s no upgrades available.