Alex Henery got one opportunity on Friday night, and missed badly. His 47-yard attempt in the second quarter never had a chance, sailing wide right.
“You’ve got to make 47-yarders in this league,” said Chip Kelly afterwards.
Henery made seven of 10 kicks between 40 and 49 yards last season. He had only one miss from that range over the previous two seasons.
Is Kelly confident that Henery is the answer at the kicker position?
“Yeah, I’m confident in Alex,” he replied. “But again, we’ve got to convert in games, too. I’ve been real excited with him in practice and I think he’s worked on some things with Coach [Dave] Fipp in terms of placing the ball on kickoffs better and hitting things as we’ve gone through training camp, but we also have to do it in the game.”
What Cary Williams told Bill Belichick
With the week of competition against New England over, Cary Williams reached out to Bill Belichick after the game to apologize for calling the head coach and the Patriots organization “cheaters.”
“It was just mutual respect between two guys. Coach Belichick respected me and I respected him. I respect the organization and I told him I was sorry for the words I had said. That was just pure emotion and sometimes you say things that you don’t really think about. That was a situation where, playing these guys in the playoffs, you kind of develop a hate for them and you try to use anything to get your mind going and get going. In that situation I could have chosen my words a little bit wiser,” he said.
“But it is mutual respect and we were able to come together and tell him I was sorry. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the organization and him as a GM and head coach. He just said there were no hard feelings and he appreciated the comments I made this week. It was just two guys respecting each other and understanding there is some history there. It is not necessarily bad blood but the spirit of competition. I said some things that I wish I could take back.”
Checking in on special teams
We know that Kelly is looking for impact special teams players to fill out the bottom of the roster. Makes sense, then, to look at how many snaps guys competing for a roster spot are seeing on specials. Some to consider from Friday night:
Casey Matthews 22
Jason Phillips 20
Roc Carmichael 18
Brandon Graham 14
Ed Reynolds 11
Curtis Marsh 11
Arrelious Benn 10
Damaris Johnson 9
Travis Long 7
Emil Igwenagu 6
Emmanuel Acho 4
Ifeanyi Momah 4
— If Matthews is to make the roster over Acho, it will be because of special teams. Could Phillips make it over both of them?
— Carmichael hasn’t distinguished himself at cornerback. Would they consider holding onto him just for special teams?
— Benn came up with a blocked punt and added a touchdown catch (courtesy of Momah) Friday night. That will help his case.
— Momah didn’t make it onto the kickoff coverage unit until the latter stages of the game. He did, though, play a game-high 42 snaps on offense.