Kelly says he is now down to one game and two kickers, but that’s just faulty logic. He needs to remove his blinders and be open to the possibility that there were better kickers on the other 31 NFL teams the last few weeks than those two.
One of those kickers, Brandon McManus was released by the New York Giants Tuesday morning. Another kicker, Jay Feely, was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Monday afternoon. Between those two, McManus is clearly the better choice because of his ability to both kick off and be deadly accurate on field goals. Feely is a better field goal kicker than any of the two kickers currently in Eagles’ camp, but he struggles getting touchbacks. McManus had 11 kickoffs in Giants’ preseason and 10 were touchbacks. The only thing that separated him from a starting job was the fact he was going against a guy, Josh Brown, who hit 23-of-25 FGs in the NFL last season.
McManus regularly booms the ball through the end zone and, for that reason alone, Kelly should be on the phone with the kicker’s agent now. McManus’ phone number won’t be hard to get because Kelly and Temple head coach Matt Rhule are friends and text each other on a regular basis. McManus played under Rhule at Temple when Rhule was an assistant coach there and also helped with the Temple kickers on a volunteer basis last season, Rhule’s first as head coach.
Then there is the additional benefit of FG accuracy. Last year, 25 percent of NFL games were decided by three points or less. Most of the preseason projections have the Eagles winning anywhere between nine to 11 games. Losing 25 percent of those games by poor field goal kicking could be the difference between a playoff berth and finishing out of the running. McManus made both of his attempts in the Giants’ preseason games, from 47 and 46 yards out. Henery missed two so far, both from inside of 40.
That’s why Kelly needs to remove those blinders and come to the realization that there are better options than the two he has right now.