It hardly came as a surprise when the Philadelphia Eagles signed rookie undrafted free agent kicker Carey Spear out of Vanderbilt following the 2014 NFL Draft. It was a common thought throughout the 2014 NFL offseason was that the Eagles weren't going to let starting kicker Alex Henery run unopposed in the summer. Henery finished the 2013 season with only 82% of attempted field goals made, which ranked 22nd in the NFL (4.33% below the NFL average of 86.47%).
Spear instantly drew the attention of Eagles fans due to his big hits in college that earned him the nickname of "Muderleg", despite a lackluster resume from a kicking standpoint. While the initial excitement around the rookie kicker was fun while it lasted, Spear has never really been able to make this so-called kicker "competition" close. Look no further than Spear's performance in practice on Wednesday against the New England Patriots.
Carey Spear is the worst kicker I've ever seen.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 13, 2014
MurderLeg missed 6 of 7 kicking from about 40 yards at a narrow goalpost, then just missed four straight kicking at the normal goalpost.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 13, 2014
Spear on field for 50 yarder. Not even close. Short and wide. #Eagles— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) August 13, 2014
So... a 1/12 (8.3%) field goal attempt performance from Spear. The weather was bad, but still... yikes.
In the interest of looking at a larger sample size, I reviewed my training camp notes and tallied a total of 31 attempts for each kicker. Note that these numbers are hardly official but they do at least illustrate the point I'm trying to make: the kicker competition was never even close.
Alex Henery - 29/31 (93.55%)
Carey Spear - 22/31 (70.97%)
It's far from a major revelation by now, but it's clear the Eagles never seriously considered moving on from the much-maligned Henery. Whether that was by choice (they still believe in Henery) or because of limited options (every worthwhile free agent kicker re-signed with their original team and the draft is far from a sure thing) remains to be seen, but what IS clear is that Henery will play out the final year of his rookie contract in 2014.
Beyond that? We'll see.