The 2014 NFL offseason has begun for the Eagles, which means Chip Kelly and his staff will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2013 roster. While the team was able to manage a 10-6 record along with an NFC East crown, there are still many ways the Eagles roster could be improved upon. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 11, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2014 season. Today we'll continue this offseason review series by looking at the kicker position.
General Stats: 1 tackle, 2 missed tackles, 3 penalties (including one that cost him $15,750)
Field Goal Stats:
|Kickoffs||No.||TB||TB%||Avg. Distance||Max. Hang Time||Avg. Start||% Returned|
Extra Point Stats: A perfect 45 for 45.
Review: A large portion of the Eagles fan base isn't very fond of Eagles kicker Alex Henery. Henery's lasting impression from the 2013 season was a failed field goal attempt in the Eagles-Saints playoff game. Of course, the Eagles lost that game by only two points (26-24), and that kick would have made the difference. But it's not fair to solely blame that loss on Henery, and that's not what I'm trying to do by bringing it up. My point is that 2013 wasn't a great campaign for the third year kicker, as you can see from the stats above.
Henery was statistically below average in every category. When it came to kicking field goals, Henery was inaccurate. In field goal attempts that presented a remote challenge (30 yards or further), Henery was only 15-20 (75%). Henery's kickoffs weren't any better. Too often the kickoffs were too short and that allowed opponents to start with better field position.
Some have suggested the Eagles use a kickoff specialist to remedy Henery's struggles in that area. Quite frankly, that seems like a waste of a roster spot. It's something Eagles coach Chip Kelly would never go for. Kelly appreciates special teams, but he also really loves efficiency (see: fast paced practices, players with versatility, etc.) It won't happen.
As a supplement to my review, definitely read this piece on Henery by Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com
Who Could Leave
Much to the disappointment of Henery detractors, the Eagles might not cut ties with the 26-year old kicker just yet. Henery is scheduled to be a free agent following the upcoming 2014 season.
Who Could Sign
The Eagles would be wise to bring in competition for Henery, and I suspect they will. This competition could come in the form of a veteran free agent kicker through free agency. Funny enough, the free agent kicker market looks appealing this year. Steven Hauschka is one of the best options out there. Mark Saltveit campaigned for his kicker of choice, Graham Gano, earlier this week. If the Eagles still have faith in Henery and don't want to spend in free agency, they could always bring in an undrafted rookie free agent kicker.
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