First I have been a fan and follower of Coach Kelly throughout his career, going back to his days at NH where he started implementing his offensive genius,
I have seen him take what most would consider average at best football players and get them to "Buy In" to his system and create the "Culture" that has carried through to today. Coach Kelly was never fortunate enough to get those big 5 Star players that schools like Alabama or USC covet but is gifted with the talent to be able to get the very best out of each and every one of them and getting them to play well beyond expectations as one successful cohesive unit. That is, at all but one very valuable position that has been coach Kelly`s nemesis or Achilles Heel.
One of the least regarded positions till you finally look up at that scoreboard at the end of the game and you notice that you lost by a mere 1, 2 or 3 points and you look back at the game and remember that field goal attempt that was wide left or short. Or you remember that drive, the one that stalled on your opponents 35 yard line when on 4th down you looked at your kicker and knew that you just had no confidence in him at all to kick the 45+ yard Field goal and went for the running play instead and came up short turning the ball back over to your opponent.
To this day this my fellow Eagle and coach Kelly fans, this has been Coach Kelly`s legacy. One of disappointments, one of coming up just those couple points short because of not addressing his teams need at one often neglected position, The one teammate that even though he does not catch, block, throw or tackle every down is all too often left out of "The Culture" or perhaps lacks the confidence at that lonely position so he didn`t, "Buy In"
This problem has cost coach Kelly some really BIG games in the past, denying him and his Ducks the Dynasty they could of had but always seemed to lose those close games that were only a successful field goal attempt away. Close games vs Stanford their then Pac-10 nemesis and even losing the National championship by a mere 3 points when Oregon`s kicker did not connect in 3 attempts during that game. It is a proven point that if you can keep the score close vs a Kelly coached team, you have a better than good chance of beating him. Gosh I hate admitting that, but its been true throughout his coaching career and now has followed him into his pro career with failing to still address the kicking game.
When Kelly came to the Eagles he adopted the Eagles kicker, Henry like many other players and never set out a competition as he did at other positions on the team. why? Neglect, over confident or just too busy getting everyone else to, "Buy In" needing to establish a name for himself and making his coaching technique credible when everyone said, "it will never work at this level"?
Well its a year later and we all as Eagle fans know just how ineffective Henry is, not even being able to have a good pct of touchbacks on kickoffs, or for that fact keeping the ball inbounds, causing major penalties and great field position for our opponents, more than likely even being the cause of losing a few games, including the wildcard game vs the Saints if he had been reliable and adequate at his job.
This preseason Spears (aka Murderleg) was brought in to either take the job away from, or to drive Henry to be better, so far neither has happened, nor have the Eagles or Kelly once again addressed this problem by looking for an immediate replacement for BOTH. The Eagles may be at the maximum roster size presently but I for one hope that the Eagles have scouts criss crossing this country urgently looking for a new Kicker and not just settling for more of the same from Henry.
Yes, the Eagles may have made strides improving the Defense this season but Eagle fans look ahead, we play the NFC Western division this season and I for one am hoping we have a strong enough defense this season to stay in these important games keeping them close, but close games in many occasions comes down to making that all important 40-50 yard field goal to win the game or on a kickoff either kicking the ball through the end zone or at the very least keeping it on the field of play. Presently, I have little to NO confidence of that happening.
The Eagles acquiring D. Sproles was HUGE, soon I would like to read an Eagles headline bragging how they found the next coming of a younger D.Akers. That fellow Eagles fans would be just as exciting a news to me.
I know this goes on a community board but I can only hope that some Eagles management also read this and realize just how important this is to the Eagles success this and coming seasons.
As much as I think Chip is an offensive Guru, someone please give him a wakeup call