The Eagles have a week to settle on a direction at the kicker position.
The plan, Chip Kelly said, is pretty straightforward: They’ll watch Alex Henery and rookie Cody Parkey kick during practice and Thursday night against the Jets (assuming opportunities present themselves) and will “figure it out after that.”
That’s not a whole lot of time to evaluate. How can you feel comfortable choosing a guy based off such a small sample size?
“You don’t,” said Kelly. “There’s nothing else we can do. We can’t get another scrimmage, we can’t get another game so we have to make decisions based off the amount of time that we have Cody in here with Alex and then we go from there. That’s it. Instead of us sitting there and saying, ‘I don’t know how I can do this, I don’t know how I can do that,’ we know how many times we get out there on the practice field which is from now until Thursday night and then we have one more game with officials under the lights where we get a chance to play and then that’s it, we’re going to have to make a decision.”
The staff will surely lean on past performance as well when considering who to move forward with. They have three seasons worth of NFL data on Henery and have seen him up close on a daily basis for the last year-plus. With Parkey, they’ll have to look to his tape from college, his work this preseason and the few days that they have with him leading up to cut-down day on August 30.
“Still focused on what I’m doing, hitting my good balls, and it will take care of itself,” said Henery. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m confident hitting the ball, just get the few bad ones that I’ve had out and go from there.
“I’ve hit the ball well this camp, it’s just those two in the game there weren’t good ones, so get those eliminated and go from there.”
Henery says there was no common reason for why he missed those kicks (“The one I hit the ground and the other I just didn’t finish my kick,” he said. “Real simple things and easy to correct.”) and does not believe that the presence of competition in camp has negatively impacted him mentally.
“It probably actually makes me better,” he said. “Like they do at every position here, you want the best at each spot…He pushes you, it ends up helping you in the long run.”
The Eagles will see how the mini-competition shakes out this week, and will surely be keeping an eye out on who gets cut across the league to see if a more desirable option becomes available.
Cary Spear was released earlier today.
Who’s in, who’s out for the Jets game
No starters will play on Thursday against the Jets and a few second-teamers will be held out as well, according to Kelly. The plan is to sit both Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez.
“We kind of thought about it as a staff. I think Mark is 25-of-31, led us on a lot of scoring drives, we feel very, very comfortable with our one and two quarterbacks so we’re going to get Matt [Barkley] a real extended look against the Jets on Thursday night,” said Kelly.
The hope is that they will be able to keep Jordan Matthews out of the game, though injuries at that position could force him in. Darren Sproles likely won’t dress. It appears Nate Allen has officially won a starting safety job. He and Malcolm Jenkins will rest. Earl Wolff will play.
It was a light, unpadded practice for the Eagles Saturday. Connor Barwin did not participate. He stood off on the side and had a sleeve on his right leg. Malcolm Jenkins also sat out. LeSean McCoy (thumb), Cary Williams (hamstring) and Brandon Boykin (hamstring) all practiced. Arrelious Benn is out with a concussion.
Chris Polk (hamstring) practiced but again, the players weren’t asked to do much. He’ll be tested when things pick up later this week.
Some have speculated that Josh Huff (AC shoulder sprain) could be a candidate for short-term injured reserve. Is that a possibility?
“I don’t think so, in terms of where his progress is right now,” said Kelly. “We don’t have to make any decisions on that until next week but that’s not something we’ve had a discussion about right now.”