Something About Alex

Posted: December 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 71 Comments »

Alex Henery is somewhat of a Rorschach Test for Eagles fans. Some see an unreliable kicker with a weak leg. Others see a guy who gets over-criticized. I see Megan Fox riding a PBR spaceship to save the people of Puddingland. Clearly I didn’t have a normal childhood.

Jimmy Bama wrote a piece on Henery. Jimmy was fair, but came down with this  conclusion.

Alex Henery kicked unopposed in training camp this year. Obviously, Henery’s production has not warranted the 4th round draft pick the Eagles spent on him in 2011. But does he warrant replacing altogether? At a minimum, there’s almost no way he won’t have competition in 2014.

Check out Jimmy’s piece for all the key stats.

I am confused with Henery. I thought he was a terrific kicker at Nebraska. He’s actually the best college kicker I’ve ever seen, based on hitting long, clutch kicks in less than ideal conditions. I hated him, because I cheered against Nebraska most of the time he hit those clutch kicks.

Henery got to Philly and had one crappy day in a loss to SF. Eagles fans got on him mercilessly at that point, but Henery proved to be very reliable after that. The problem is that he wasn’t hitting long kicks or clutch kicks. People couldn’t dismiss his accuracy on the short kicks, but it just wasn’t enough to get them to believe Henery was a flat out good PK.

This year Henery has missed kicks that he made the past couple of years. New STs coach Dave Fipp has worked with Henery on some of his mechanics and I don’t know how much of this is hurting him or if Henery is just getting sloppy on his own. He isn’t a bad kicker. For the year, he’s 21 for 26, which puts him 23rd in the league in accuracy. One of the misses came from 60 yards out (vs DAL). Another was pushed by wind (vs GB). This isn’t a guy who lines up and just shanks the ball on a regular basis.

That said, he needs to be better. Kickers are more accurate than ever.  6 kickers finished 2008 hitting 90 percent or more of their kicks. 13 kickers are at that level right now. Guys are hitting the ball more accurately than ever, and from farther out than ever. We just saw a record-setting 64-yard FG. We just saw someone hit a 61-yarder to win a game.

Henery isn’t a liability, but he sure isn’t a weapon. One criticism people have is that he’s got so few attempts from 50 yards and out. Part of that is on coaching. Andy Reid didn’t like long FGs. David Akers tried a total of 15 FGs of 50 yards or more in his first 6 years as an Eagle. He matched that total in just 2 years in SF. Harbaugh liked the long FGs. Reid preferred to go for it or to punt. Henery got the same treatment, attempting just 3 FGs of 50 or more yards under Reid. Kelly has already let Henery kick 2 such FGs. Henery nailed a 51-yard kick on Sunday. That tied for his career long FG. I don’t see this as a trust issue with the coaches and Henery. All about strategy.

Kickoffs are a much tougher subject to discuss. You need to know the strategy. Henery doesn’t have the leg strength to put the ball out of the back of the end zone on a consistent basis. That said, the Eagles are 15th in covering kicks. He might do a good job of putting kicks where they are supposed to go and/or putting lots of height on the KOs. Hang time helps the cover unit.

I think people hold Henery’s draft place against him. That’s not logical at this point. You can hold that against Howie Roseman, Andy Reid and/or Bobby April, but not Henery. The pick is gone. When evaluating him, you need to judge him based on performance, not the pick invested in him. He’s either good enough or not good enough. If he was a UDFA would you be fine with him?

I want to believe in Henery, but I’ll admit that he makes me nervous. I do have hope that he’s gotten into a good rhythm. He missed FGs in 3 consecutive games (SD, KC, DEN) and then the coaches fixed something in his mechanics. Since then the only misses were in the wind and the long kick. Maybe Henery is back to being reliable. I do think that the more time he has to work with Dave Fipp, the better they’ll figure out how to perfect his kicking motion and really get on the same page with Fipp.

I do agree with Jimmy that Henery will have competition next summer. And not just some longshot UDFA. The Eagles will bring in someone to push Henery. At that point, may the best man win.


71 Comments on “Something About Alex”

  1. 1 shah8 said at 5:39 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Think it’s a head issue, really. He’ll work through it or he won’t.

  2. 2 deg0ey said at 5:41 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I have faith that, now he’s properly settled, Chip can find the Donnie Jones of placekicking. Hell, maybe Donnie Jones can be the Donnie Jones of placekicking – has anyone thought to ask him?

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 6:03 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    What can’t Donnie Jones do?

  4. 4 Sean said at 5:50 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I have to say that I’ve been disappointed in the special teams this year, more than any other unit. Sure, the secondary is terrible, but we all assumed that it would be. There was so much emphasis on it that I thought we’d see a turnaround, but, outside of punting, they’ve done nothing of note. Henery has been hit and miss, the kickoff coverage has struggled, and they have not big plays on ST; no blocks, no TDs, not even any particularly long returns. I expected more from Crazy Eyes. He and his eyes have both fallen short.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 6:04 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    STs was great for 2 weeks, then struggled for several weeks, and then leveled off. Odd year.

    I do agree that I expected more out of them.

  6. 6 Sean said at 6:07 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    The part that really annoys me is that the Chiefs have the best ST in the league after we had to suffer through years of bad units after Harbaugh left.

  7. 7 Insomniac said at 6:20 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    The key is to pick your kicker with the last pick in a draft and not in the 4th round.

  8. 8 NinjaP said at 7:48 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I thought there was a blocked punt td in the giants game.

  9. 9 JB said at 7:59 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    More like a moonshot snap that Weatherford bumbled around with until an Eagle fell on it.

  10. 10 Dominik said at 10:17 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    We need to get a returner next year. That’s very important. DJax is capable of bringing it to the house, but he loses yards way too often AND we can’t replace him if he gets injured.

    Maybe Smith can handle the kickoffs, I don’t know. Boykin is a great special teamer, but not a good kickoff returner.

    I like Smith to be our #5 WR next year, if the price is right. Johnson, Maehl and Avant (despite his great leadership qualities) should go. Draft a guy who can also return (punts especially) and roll with him, DJax, Cooper, Mac and Smith.

    I’m pretty optimistic that this will happen, too. Kelly emphasises ST. He maybe doesn’t say it publicly, but he can’t be happy with our ST game with the lone exception of punts and punt coverage (I’m looking at you, Boykin, fielding it inside the 5).

    Some of you may say: we need O-Line player in the draft, too. I don’t think so. Not 2014. Re-sign Barbre, who showed he’s a great back-up, and draft 2015. We need one returner/WR, the rest of the draft picks can be on the Defense, who needs those picks.

  11. 11 Insomniac said at 6:24 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Chip just flat out doesn’t trust the ST with the exception of Donnie Jones. The Lions game probably still haunts him and the way he handled the Vikings ST is probably a good example.

    Henery just isn’t the guy unless you’re content with an inconsistent mediocre kicker. The Ravens had their kicker win them the game. I can’t see Henery being that guy.

  12. 12 Neil said at 8:12 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    To be fair to Henery, he hasn’t had an opportunity to fail.

  13. 13 Insomniac said at 8:42 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Missing easy field goals is probably the reason why he isn’t even given a chance to.

  14. 14 Anders said at 5:37 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    That is why he had no problems attempting a 51 yard FG?

    The Eagles rarely attempt long FGs because we often go for it on 4th down instead.

  15. 15 anon said at 11:20 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Nah he failed early in the season and now coaches don’t trust him.

  16. 16 Neil said at 1:44 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    Could you remind me the game and situation? Are you talking about the sixtyyard attempt?

  17. 17 Cafone said at 6:57 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I don’t think Henerey has been worth the draft pick, but I don’t hold it against him. In a way, it makes me biased in his favor because I want him to succeed so it doesn’t turn out to be a wasted pick.

    I remember thinking Carlos Huerta (All-American from the University of Miami) was going to be great in the NFL, but he never stuck with a team for more than a few games. Kicking success in college is no guarantee of future success in the pros.

    I think Henery is doing what he needs to do for now: being good enough to not get cut and hopefully in the future he will be able to increase his leg strength and the Eagles won’t have to worry about the kicker position for many years to come. Akers wasn’t always great, but he was solid and it was sure nice to be able to count on him year after year. Hopefully one day we’ll feel the same about Henery.

    Also, I do get some consolation by cursing Nebraska after his misses.

  18. 18 Crus57 said at 7:11 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    The thing that troubles me about Henery is that many of his kicks hook (travel from right to left) in the air, even extra points. I mention this in most game threads, when I see it happen. Not only does this slightly reduce his range, I would think it can also effectively narrow the space between the goalposts as well as make his kicks less predictable against the wind.
    The fact that his kicks don’t always hook is in some ways even more troubling, at least if it was consistent he could adjust to compensate.

  19. 19 A_T_G said at 7:14 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Does it reduce the distance? In golf, a slight hook, or draw, actually increases the maximum distance for a right-handler because of something with the rotation. I realize that the kicking motion is different, as is the ball, but I wonder if the effect is the same.

  20. 20 Crus57 said at 7:18 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I’m not sure about aerodynamically (and a football is probably less aerodynamic than a golf ball) but in purely distance travelled to reach destination terms, travelling sideways say 6 feet is going to reduce your maximum distance from the origin, given an equal amount of energy expended.
    Also, most kickers don’t seem to hook their kicks, that I’ve seen (though I admit I don’t tend to watch non-Eagles games much).

  21. 21 Mitchell said at 10:00 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Well in golf the distance increases (if you are right handed) with a draw because you are closing the face of the club, hence decreasing the angle of launch on the club. For instance, if you have a 10.5 degree driver and you rotate the face of club closed a bit it may drop it down to say 6.5 degrees. Thereby lower the y component of your swing and increasing the longitudinal distance.
    In summation, I don’t think adding a draw to your kick will increase distance because its not really the same thing. If you close your foot on a kick you simply kick it the way your foot was facing and then you simply apply pythagoream’s equation and it turns out your kick is shorter.

  22. 22 P_P_K said at 7:15 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I know a lot of people didn’t like the draft, but at the time I sure did. Henery was incredible at Nebraska. He’s still a good kicker. take out the 2 misses Tommy mentions and he’s 23 for 26, 88.5% (I did that in my head. Not.) He’s not great right now but he’s good. I hope with some more work on whatever is messing him up, physically or mentally, he might rise to the next level.

  23. 23 Cafone said at 7:17 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Did you read the Kempski article linked by Tommy? The point is, yeah, he’s accurate, but his accuracy statistics are very misleading because two different coaches now haven’t felt confident enough in his leg strength to put him out there for long kicks.

  24. 24 BlindChow said at 9:06 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    It has a lot to do with opportunity as well. How often has a drive stalled in that exact range? I only remember one game this year where they clearly didn’t kick because of range issues (though they tried it from a longer distance the following week, from what I remember).

  25. 25 P_P_K said at 8:28 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    Who in their right mind would read anything by that hack, Kempski? Just kiddin’. I’m a big fan of Jimmy’s and his “10 Awards” are weekly gold. I had skipped over the link but, you’re right, there’s some good stuff in there that is making me reconsider.

  26. 26 Matt said at 12:42 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    Did you read this article? Jimmy’s statistics are very misleading because Reid rarely liked trying long FGs.

    Also, the sample size is way too small to make a judgement on.

  27. 27 Cafone said at 7:15 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Speaking of special teams, I assume we will see Brad Smith back for kicks even if Boykin returns. Any chance we are going to start seeing him on punts too? It seems like it’s past time for him to start contributing as a returner.

  28. 28 jshort said at 7:37 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Glad to see you changed the subject, Had a over under number of posts on the subject around 48 1/2 In the FG department, he has not missed a game winner. See what happens in the next couple games. Alex misses a game winner to cost us a playoff spot or game. Then it would be of concern.

  29. 29 anon said at 7:56 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Henery? Game Winner? SD?

  30. 30 Cafone said at 8:08 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Sorry, I wasn’t aware that it was out of bounds to bring up the return game, or any other Eagles related topic, in the comments section of IgglesBlitz.

    Certainly nobody would ever start a discussion about Nick Foles, Chip Kelly, or the Eagles defense in the comments after articles that weren’t specifically devoted to those topics.

  31. 31 jshort said at 9:42 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Naw, never did see anyone change subject….lol…and didn’t care that you did…actually was glad.

  32. 32 A_T_G said at 7:21 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I think the fact that hating the pick and hating the player are two separate decisions is often overlooked. It seems like some people want him gone because of when he was selected, perhaps so he stops serving as a reminder of the resources used to get him. While understandable, this line of thought is counterproductive.

  33. 33 Matt said at 12:42 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    People also are confusing two separate issues with him: accuracy and leg strength. I think they are wrong on both points, but they try to use one to implicate the other.

  34. 34 ConcussedFB said at 7:28 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Tommy, how does Henery stack up versus Joe Webb? We know he’s better than our quarterback, is he a better option that our kicker? Can he make complex kicks? Does he maximize utility?

  35. 35 shah8 said at 7:54 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Joe Webb is certainly better at drawing fifteen yard unnecessary roughness penalties, and you would think that a kicker would measure up, given how much a good flop is a key element of their game!

  36. 36 D-von said at 7:55 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Yeah I agree. You cant blame him for being a 4th round pick. But its hard not to lambast Henery when you have Justin Tucker who has been excellent kicker for ravens even though he was an undrafted FA. Hopefully some competition will make him better.

  37. 37 ACViking said at 8:01 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    We definitely need answers from Henery. To which I say:

    Go ask Alex when he’s 10 feet tall . . . .

  38. 38 TommyLawlor said at 8:05 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Alex in Wonderland?

  39. 39 ACViking said at 8:23 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    You still have it, T-Law.

  40. 40 Sb2bowl said at 11:10 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    (Push the ball) Right (white) Rabbit……..


  41. 41 Daniel said at 8:02 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    As far as we know, Chip doesn’t trust him to kick a ball out of the end zone in a Dome.

    Is it that hard to find a kicker that can (that can perform reasonably well with field goals since we don’t kick long ones anyway)? Honest question.

  42. 42 Cafone said at 8:10 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Maybe the Eagles could use Donnie Jones as a kick off specialist. That man has a golden leg.

  43. 43 Richard O'Connor said at 8:09 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Let’s not forget that when Akers was in his prime he had consistent battery, including a Hall-of-Fame worthy holder. Doronbos has been steady, but Henery’s worked with a few different holders.

    I don’t know enough about kicking to say that this makes any difference. I guess what I AM saying is that Akers was turned into ProBowler by Koy.

  44. 44 ICDogg said at 8:17 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    If Dallas wins Sunday’s game is meaningless for #Eagles but that’s also true for the #Bears if Green Bay wins.

  45. 45 Ark87 said at 8:20 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I thought the onside kick was pretty well executed on Sunday, just almost impossible to make succeed when the other team knows it’s coming.

  46. 46 Tumtum said at 8:48 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I know this: when Henry lined up for that 51 yarder I assumed missed and hoped he would hit it. When Justin Tucker lined up for the 61 yarder I expected a game winner.

  47. 47 anon said at 8:51 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    not everyone will have the best position player in the league on their team. Justin Tucker is definitely saving the Raven’s season though

  48. 48 BlindChow said at 8:56 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Justin Tucker also probably cost Jim Schwartz his job…

  49. 49 A_T_G said at 10:00 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    This is an excellent point. Do we really want to see any of our rivals fire their coach? Is it worth the risk just so we can breathe during field goal attempts?

  50. 50 Insomniac said at 10:05 PM on December 18th, 2013:


  51. 51 Mac said at 2:00 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    Hmm… I like Garrett and Shanny.

  52. 52 D3FB said at 6:38 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    We could very well see three new coaches in the division next year. This makes me very sad.

  53. 53 Matt said at 12:44 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    That’s where we are different. I know the facts, so I knew Henery was very likely to make that kick.

    Problem is with many people, some who are out and out Henery haters (Jimmy, Derek, Brian S), they base it on what they see, instead of the facts.

  54. 54 BlindChow said at 8:58 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    You also could have called this article “Regarding Henery.”

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 9:13 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Would have been perfect. I’m one of 37 people who saw that at the theater.

  56. 56 mheil said at 9:24 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    I think Henry was one of Reid’s better 4th round choices. He made 21 total choices in the 4th round by my count, and the only ones clearly better than Henry were Boykin, Avant, Herrmans and Buckhalter. They recieved no return from many of their selections and many others contributed only on STs or had their only productive yrs with other teams.

  57. 57 Vick or Nick said at 9:47 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Henery is ok. Do I hold my breath every time he attempts a 40+ yarder? You bet I do.

    RE: TEAM

    I really hope the Eagles are able to play better situational football. That doesn’t require talent per-say, just being smart, which I think is possible.

    The Offense needs to covert on 2nd-and 1, and Third and short to prevent 4th down decisions and keep drives alive.

    The Defense needs to get off the field on 3rd-and long situations. Make the tackle, don’t try to do anything extraordinary.

    Minimize mistakes, play smart football = win over the Bears.

  58. 58 91mr2t said at 10:42 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    Off topic, but another good article from The Chip Wagon on Foles and why he is looking more and more like a franchise QB.

  59. 59 Mitchell said at 11:02 PM on December 18th, 2013:

    That was a very good read. Remember for how many years we wanted to see the end zone fade? We have down it often this year, which is nice.

  60. 60 Finlay Jones said at 4:30 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    “Henery isn’t a liability” Sure looked like one last game, not kicking touchbacks. If a kicker cant reliably kick 40-49 yard fgs, which he cant, and misses almost all of his 50+ attempts, which he does, he’s a liability. Most kickers hit most 50 yard fgs nowadays.

  61. 61 Anders said at 5:34 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    Henery was asked not too kick touch-backs.

    Also go look up Henery’s FG% made from 40-49 and tell me again he cant make them?

  62. 62 Finlay Jones said at 7:20 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    Henery was asked not to kick touch-backs, because his coach has no confidence he can do it. That is the very definition of a liability.
    his 40-49% stats are massively padded by sub45 attempts.

    The dude is not very good, certainly a below average kicker in the league.

  63. 63 Anders said at 7:32 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    outside of the last 3 games, Henery was getting mostly touchbacks.

  64. 64 Finlay Jones said at 7:34 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    Henery is in the bottom third in each year of his career in touchback %

  65. 65 Finlay Jones said at 7:57 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    All 3 years of his career he’s been in the bottom third in the league for touchbacks.

  66. 66 Matt said at 12:46 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    He can reliably kick over 40, its just this year he’s been bitten by luck. You can’t judge this year because of small sample sizes. He’s made a 51 with ease, and two 48’s on the year. He’s missed a 60 too, but they are hard (and the distance was fine).

  67. 67 A_T_G said at 6:27 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    “I see Megan Fox riding a PBR spaceship to save the people of Puddingland.”

    Tommy, since you obviously are baring your sole as part of your treatment, perhaps you can tell us. What does Ms. Fox say?

  68. 68 ICDogg said at 9:01 AM on December 19th, 2013:

    She says Santa Claus is white. No, wait, that’s Megyn Kelly on Fox News.

  69. 69 Matt said at 12:31 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    You make some good points I hadn’t thought of- that Reid was very careful kicking long, even with Akers. Here is what I found wrong with Jimmy’s argument:

    – Fewest kicks from 50- we can’t know whether that’s a result of leg kick or situations. I don’t remember many situations he HAD to kick from over 50. We need to go back and analyze every 4th down in the 40-60 yard FG range to see if they punted or went for it instead of kicking, and the situation in the game (down 21 points for example). Without that data, we can’t say its because of his leg. Bad argument.

    – 2 of 5 over 50 isn’t bad, and regardless its a small sample size. Bad argument.

    – Shortest long FG- again small sample size. He’s made 51, 48, and 48 this year. He also missed a 60 yarder, and not because of distance- it was plenty long enough- but because it went wide. Which isn’t surprising cause its a 60 yard kick. And this was at the Linc too. Bad Argument.

    – Touchback %- we don’t know if that’s leg strength or decision on kick off strategy. Bad argument.

    – 40-49 range this year- again small sample size (sensing a pattern?). He kicked in a tough stadium missing 2. Also Jay Feely has missed TWO FGs 20-29 yards and two others missed one, Nick Novak missed THREE from 30-39, and 17 others have missed FGs at that range, and a ton have missed more than one from 40-49. And again, he’s made two from 48, and a 51 yarder.

  70. 70 Cafone said at 2:01 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    When taken individually, all those arguments you point out as “bad” may not be definitive proof that Henery doesn’t have a strong leg but, when viewed collectively, a pattern certainly emerges. In your quest to debunk those arguments, I think you may have inadvertently posted the most damning criticism of Henery’s leg strength in this entire comment thread.

    Not that I, or many others here, needed it. We’ve watched him for three years now and we’ve got the evidence of our own eyes that tells us Henery does not have a particularly strong leg. Even those of us that would consider ourselves Henery supporters, like myself, can admit that. Personally my hope is that his leg strength continues to improve. He’s not exactly young, but with more exposure to NFL strength conditioning I believe improvement is entirely possible.

  71. 71 Matt said at 2:09 PM on December 19th, 2013:

    But that’s the thing- individually and in aggregate they DON’T have a pattern.

    I don’t see how I’ve “inadvertently” posted the most damning criticism when as part of my argument I’ve showed how he DOES have a strong leg, and that you can’t use any of the data we have to show he DOESN’T.

    Saying “I’ve watched him, that’s all the evidence I need” isn’t evidence at all. I’ve watched him too, and I see clearly he has a strong leg.