In the record books – if there are such things for preseason football – history will show the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, 37-7.
For the fans in attendance and those watching on television, however, the result of a battle on the scoreboard was secondary to key position battles being waged in the final contest before head coach Chip Kelly and the Eagles trim their roster from 75 to 53 players.
Garnering the most interest was the place kicking battle between incumbent Alex Henery and Auburn product Cody Parkey, who was brought in just before last week’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to give a push to the Eagles’ inconsistent veteran.
While Henery went out against the Steelers and added to concerns by missing a 31-yard field goal, Parkey came into Thursday on a mission. His first-half kickoffs were high and strong, coming down at the goal line and 7-yards deep, respectively.
The challenger’s first field goal chance came with 1:54 to go in the first half, a 54-yard try from the right hash. Parkey drilled it with room to spare. He had another chance from 25 yards on the final play of the second quarter and was successful again.
In less than two minutes, Parkey not only made a field goal longer than any Henery has made in his career (long of 51), but converted two field goals, tying the number Henery had made in three preseason games.
Henery came out to boot the second-half kickoff and struck a wobbly line drive that the Jets allowed to bounce 2-yards deep in the end zone. Midway through the third quarter the Eagles had a chance to try a 53-yarder from the middle of the field and Kelly sent Parkey – not Henery – out for the attempt. He drilled it to give Philadelphia a 16-7 lead with 7:09 to go.
Oh, and his ensuing kickoff was 8-yards deep in the end zone.
Henery did get a chance to kick two extra points in the fourth quarter. For what it’s worth, he made them and his subsequent kickoffs were 7- and 3-yards deep, respectively.
Some of the steam was taken out of the running back watch, as Chris Polk, who missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury but returned to the practice field in advance of this game, sat. The reason – coach’s decision or injury – was not immediately known.