Not surprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t content going into the 2014 season with Alex Henery as their kicker. The problem the club keeps running into is he’s not very easy to replace.
The Eagles tried Carey Spear, but after seeing Murderleg live at training camp, it’s safe to say he is a decidedly worse option than Henery. So, with that competition settled, a new challenger appears. On Wednesday, the Eagles traded running back David Fluellen to the Indianapolis Colts for kicker Cody Parkey.
Fluellen was a long shot to make the team, although he did touch the ball seven times for 39 yards and a touchdown in a Week 1 preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
Much like Spear, Parkey is an undrafted rookie. Parkey has a little bit better of a resume, though, at least in terms of kickoffs. The Auburn product led the nation with 69 touchbacks as a senior.
Then again, Parkey’s touchback rate didn’t far exceed Spear’s. Parkey boomed 70.4 percent of his kicks for no return in 2013, while Spear managed to on 64.4 of his. It hasn’t translated for the Vanderbilt product, who was bested by Henery on a consistent basis.
Henery was tied for 20th in the NFL last season at 41.1 percent.
The difference between Parkey and Spear is Parkey was actually experiencing some success in Indianapolis. While Spear has yet to so much as appear in a game for the Eagles, Parkey has boomed six kickoffs for touchbacks on 10 tries—60 percent for you math majors out there.
Parkey is also two-for-two on field goals this summer, which is more than can be said for Henery. Parkey has connected from 45 and 31 yards, while the incumbent pushed a 47-yard try wide against the New England Patriots last week.
Despite his recent success, Parkey wasn’t much better than Spear in terms of field-goal accuracy in college. Parkey was 39 of 53 lifetime (74.6%) compared to 39 of 50 (78%) for Spear.
Obviously, Spear’s relative success in college hasn’t carried over to the pros. His release is inevitable at this point.
It’s not really realistic to compare Henery to Parkey because kicking field goals is different in college—arguably more difficult due to wider hash marks that create more extreme angles. However, Henery’s 82.1 percent accuracy last season was considered a disappointment.
The reason Parkey was available is because the Colts have Adam Vinatieri. Parkey was brought to camp to help keep the 41-year-old fresh for the regular season.
Of course, if the kid was that good, why wouldn’t the Colts have opted to get younger at the position when the opportunity presented itself?
It’s hard to say, but one thing is clear, and that is the Eagles realize Henery isn’t very good. He hasn’t been very accurate on field goals of late, he can’t even be trusted to attempt a 50-plus yarder and he’s never been very good on kickoffs, either.
You can’t complain about the Eagles adding more competition at a position of need—perhaps even the biggest hole on the roster. Unfortunately, free agency just didn’t have a lot to offer in terms of a reliable veteran kickers, so for now, the Birds have to continue holding tryouts. Godspeed.