The Philadelphia Eagles’ final tune-up for the regular season would’ve gone off without a hitch, except for just one problem. With his job on the line, Alex Henery pushed a 31-yard field goal wide right during the fourth quarter of the Birds’ 31-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Needless to say, Chip Kelly was not amused. As the saying goes, this picture is worth 1,000 words—many of them expletives.
Chip Kelly's face when Alex Henery missed that 31 yard FG. pic.twitter.com/qvTz3xhd7F— Superb Ass (@GotMyEdgesMami) August 22, 2014
In case you were wondering whether Chip had cooled off by the time he met the media to deliver the post-game address, if anything, he was more flustered. Usually composed and eloquent, Kelly seemed to be beside himself as he tried to find words to describe Henery’s ineptitude.
“I wish I could put my finger on it,” Kelly said. “I don’t know what he’s battling, but obviously you’ve got to make a field goal like that. It’s not … I mean, you’ve got to make it.”
Henery established himself as unreliable in 2013, his worst NFL season thus far. The 2011 fourth-round pick ranked tied for 20th in touchback rate on kickoffs, 23rd in field-goal accuracy. Two coaching staffs have trusted him to attempt a total of five field goals of 50 yards or more through three seasons—17 kickers matched or exceeded that figure last year alone. And the icing on the cake, Henery shanked a 48-yard attempt badly in the 26-24 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in January.
We can all count. Those points would’ve helped.
In case you are wondering why Henery is still on the roster, it was an especially thin year for kickers in free agency. Most of the recognizable names that are still available are on the back ends of their career or are essentially retired and not really a better option.
The Eagles currently have two other kickers on the roster. Carey Spear signed as undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt in May, but failed to pose a threat to Henery throughout training camp. On Wednesday, the club acquired Cody Parkey from the Indianapolis Colts, another undrafted rookie out of Auburn.
Parkey got a look on kickoffs in Thursday’s game, but did not attempt a field goal. He was 2-for-2 in Indianapolis this preseason with a long of 45. More on Parkey and his chances of making the roster here.
The Eagles have one other potential solution, and that’s to wait until after cuts are made. 14 teams still have more than one kicker on the roster, so there will be players on the waiver wire. Whether any are better than Henery, who knows.
One thing is for sure, and that is kicker is this squad’s biggest hole heading into the regular season. Fortunately, kickers change locales all the time mid-season. Then again, the fact that the Eagles aren’t forced to live with Henery is of small comfort when faced with the possibility of a revolving door at the position.