BETHLEHEM -- When a team brings in a really good player to try to take a job away from an incumbent, very rarely does the guy who was doing the job say, "Oh my gosh, this is horrible! How could they do this to little old me?"
It would make for better stories and more drama if they did that, but everybody knows this is just not how you react. It miust be on an early page of some secret manual they hand out at rookie orientation -- a reporter asks what it's like to get a strong hint your days are numbered, your response is to laud the benefits of competition for everyone involved.
So, Eagles punter Chas Henry was ready when your Eagletarian waylaid him yesterday to ask about the addition of Mat McBriar, the two-time Pro Bowl former Dallas Cowboy.
"I figured they'd bring in a veteran to come in and compete," Henry said. "I'm OK with that, as long as I have a chance to compete ... I think it makes everybody better. If you don't like competition, this isn't the sport for ya."
Yes, but there is the kind of competition Henry was facing in the spring, from a rookie named Ryan Tydlacka, and there is the kind of competition he's facing now, in which if McBriar proves he's back from that drop-foot problem with his plant leg from last season, he just about definitely will win Henry's job, because a healthy McBriar is one of the very best in the buisness.
"He's a good player. I can learn from him, hopefully show 'em what I can do, and stay here," Henry said.
Henry's rookie season of 2011 was OK, not great. Henry’s 42.9-yard gross ranked 25th, three spots below McBriar last season. His net – which often reflects punt coverage as much as the punter – was slightly better than McBriar’s figure, 37.5 yards (26th) to 36.7 (28th). McBriar ranked 20th in punts downed inside the 20; Henry was tied for 25th.
"When I talked with Andy [Reid] and [special teams coordinator Bobby April after the season], their whole thing was consistency -- we don't have to hit it 55, 60 yards every time. Forty-two, 43, consistent, get it where we want it. I thought I had a pretty good minicamp ... I'm just going to come in and keep working," Henry said.