Remember David Akers and his quick exit from the Philadelphia Eagles after many years of service? His left leg was reliable for distance and accuracy. He would tackle kick returners with his martial arts skills. He was a Pro Bowl kicker and a rock for this team, until the last playoffs when he missed multiple field goals and cost the Eagles the game. He was dismissed from the team and replaced with Alex Henery.
Kickers cannot lose your team the game. When they fail, they will always be remembered in the icons of league history (does Scott Norwood ring a bell?). This game, even with the coaching, offensive and defensive mismatches, was lost for the Eagles by Henery.
The first reason he lost the game was leaving points on the field. The final score had the San Diego Chargers winning by three. If he makes the easy kick he missed late in the game, it is suddenly tied. I know kickers are not perfect, but they need to hit field goals that are not in adverse conditions with fairly automatic accuracy.
The second reason is the horrible kick return in the fourth quarter. The Chargers returned a kick and the ball was dislodged. Henery was the first player with a chance to recover the fumble, and he let it slip through his hands. Now he was not the last Eagles’ player with a chance, but you need to have enough hands to hold that ball. If he comes up with the recovery, the moment is different and a touchdown is taken off the board.
Henery has been solid in his Eagles career so far, but he needs to play better as the season progresses and cannot be a liability if Chip Kelly hopes to win more games in this league.