Alex Henery is a hot topic, but for all the wrong reasons. In a summer where a lot of questions are getting positive answers, the Eagles kicking situation isn’t one of them. Henery missed a FG against the Pats. This week he missed a chip shot. What’s next?
The problem is that there isn’t an easy solution to this problem.
Some of you wonder why Chip Kelly didn’t address this in March. Why did a very smart coach keep Henery around? I don’t know the answer. It is obvious that Kelly and STs coach Dave Fipp must feel that Henery can be a good kicker. If they didn’t see the potential, they’d have made a move. Maybe Alex talked to them about making technique changes and everyone felt that would help him. Or maybe Henery has nude photos of Kelly and Fipp in a hot tub with the Kardashians.
My assumption, based on Kelly’s love of logic, is that they felt Henery was worth keeping because his flaws could be worked on. His kickoffs do seem better to me this summer. But now we’ve got the missed FGs. Ugh.
I do think Kelly, Fipp and Howie Roseman erred in not bringing in better competition. Carey Spear made for a good story for about a week, but he wasn’t a great kicker in college. He’s been bad in the NFL. He hasn’t challenged Henery at all.
But that is spilled milk. We need to focus on the problem and how to solve it or deal with it.
Cody Parkey is a total mystery. He will have a week to show what he can do. Then he’ll get some chances in the Jets game, but who knows how many that will be. A couple of kickoffs? You wonder if Kelly would be willing to intentionally stall drives at the 25-yard line so he could get live reps for Henery and Parkey. Am I insane for even thinking that?
Are there outside options?
First…let’s get one thing clear. We don’t want to cut Alex Henery as some kind of punishment. You have to let go of emotions and frustration. Anyone who says “Cut him. Anybody else would be an improvement” is speaking from the heart, but not the brain. We’re all frustrated, but the worst thing the Eagles could do would be to just cut Henery for the heck of it. There are worse kickers out there.
The whole point here is to see if there is a way to improve the situation.
Jimmy Bama wrote about a possible solution the other day. That would be Dustin Hopkins of the Bills.
That would leave second year kicker Dustin Hopkins on the outside looking in. Hopkins was drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, and he beat out Rian Lindell for the starting job after a perfect (six for six) preseason. Unfortunately, Hopkins injured his groin, the Bills signed Carpenter, Hopkins was placed on IR, and has still yet to kick in the regular season.
In terms of leg strength, Hopkins is everything Henery is not. In his final season at Florida State, Hopkins hit five of six field goal attempts from outside 50 yards. For his college career, he was nine of 15.
Hopkins is also considered a weapon on kickoffs. In the Bills’ first preseason game against the Giants, Hopkins produced touchbacks on all four of his kickoffs.
Will Hopkins be available? Per a Buffalo reporter, here is his roster situation.
Dustin Hopkins: Do the Bills really need a kickoff specialist? Hopkins’ job depends on it. He had touchbacks on four of his six kickoffs in the first two preseason games before a groin injury sidelined him last weekend. If Hopkins is healthy enough to kick Saturday, it might be his last chance to make his case as the kickoff man. Most teams only carry one kicker, andDan Carpenter has proven capable enough on kickoffs.
Hopkins did play against Tampa. He had 3 kickoffs. One went for a touchback.
Can he be trusted to make field goals?
Elliot Shorr-Parks wrote about other candidates. As he put it, it’s not pretty.
Even though he is 36-years old, Bironas would certainly qualify as a “win-now” kicker. Bironas went 25 of 29 last season with the Tennessee Titans, including two of three from beyond 50 yards. Bironas does have some playoff experience, but he has gone three of five in two playoff appearances — including one miss in a 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens when he was with Tennessee.
Akers is not the same kicker he used to be during his long stint in Philadelphia from 1999-2010, but he did knock in all three of his attempts from 50-plus yards last season with Detroit. Akers’ accuracy from that deep is impressive, but he forced less touchbacks than Henery did last season, which is one of the Eagles’ main problem with their current kicker. A reunion would be a nice story, however.
Lindell has the strongest leg among these free agent options. The 37-year old hit four of his six attempts from 50-plus yards last season. Lindell did have his accuracy issues, however, missing four kicks between 30 to 49 yards.
Forget about Akers. He is done as a kicker. I love the guy, but Henery is the better PK right now.
I’m fine with bringing in Bironas. Have him, Henery and anyone else have a kicking competition at The Linc. Go with the guy who wins it.
I am fine with the Eagles taking a chance on a young guy like Hopkins or a vet like Bironas if they feel those guys will legitimately be better than Henery. If not, we may have to wait for the offseason.
You don’t just get rid of Henery. You need someone that can do a better job to replace him.
Any other names out there that you guys have dug up?