Alex Henery suddenly a question mark at kicker

Alex Henery suddenly a question mark at kicker

Eagle Eye: Where do we go from here?

September 21, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Alex Henery has missed kicks of 46 and 48 yards in the last two games. (USA Today Images)

When the season began, Alex Henery was the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history at 87.9 percent.

Three games later, we’re wondering about his job security.

Such is life for placekickers.

Henery, the Eagles’ third-year kicker from Nebraska, has missed field goal attempts in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

They haven’t been easy kicks -- 46 yards against the Chargers, 48 yards against the Chiefs -- but they have raised the issue of whether the Eagles can rely on Henery to make big kicks at big moments moving forward.

After making 24 of 27 kicks as a rookie and 22 of his first 23 attempts last year, Henery was 46 for 50 and atop the all-time NFL accuracy list among kickers with 50 or more attempts at 92 percent.

Since then, he’s missed 5 of 14 field goal attempts, dropping to 55 for 64 overall. That’s still 86.2 percent, and that’s still pretty good. Henery is now No. 5 on the NFL’s all-time accuracy list.

But he is dropping.

In the San Diego game, the Eagles trailed 13-10 when Henery missed wide right from 46 yards just before halftime. They ended up losing by three.

On Thursday night, the Chiefs led 16-9 late in the third quarter when Henery missed wide left from 48 yards. The Chiefs took advantage of the short field and drove 62 yards for a touchdown that gave them a 14-point lead.

“Yeah, it was a longer kick, but I just pulled it a little bit and took it left,” Henery said. “That’s one kick I should make. It’s a kick I tell myself I should make. It was in my range.

“Three points definitely helps out there. You never know what can happen after that -- we could get a stop, go down and score a touchdown and be in the lead.”

Henery did make 48-yard field goals in each of the first two games, and his career numbers between 40 and 49 yards are very good. Henery is 17 for 20 all-time from 40-to-49, good for 85 percent.

Henery is in only his third season, but he’s already on his third holder, and that could be an issue.

Chas Henry was the holder in 2011 and early last year, then it was Mat McBriar, and now it’s Donnie Jones.

But Henery refused to use that as an excuse.

“No, they’re doing great,” he said. “I just pulled that one. It got caught in the wind and went straight left on me. It’s one of those things that I’ll go fix and then come back next week and correct it.”

Henery will always be in more of a spotlight than most kickers because the Eagles used a fourth-round draft pick on him in 2011.

He’s the only kicker drafted in the NFL in the fourth round or higher in the last seven years and the first the Eagles drafted that high since third-rounder Tony Franklin in 1979.

The Eagles, 1-2, have a lot of issues right now, but Kelly said he’s not worried about Henery. Not yet.

“I think it's too early for that,” he said. “I've seen Alex consistently hit the football. He's missed two, but I'm surprised that he misses because he's been so consistent.”