Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Howie: Parkey has great leg, Henery will rebound elsewhere

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman met with reporters after the roster cuts from 75 to 53 Saturday, and talked about some of the more notable decisions, including going with rookie kicker Cody Parkey.

Howie: Parkey has great leg, Henery will rebound elsewhere

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Eagles kicker Cody Pakey. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles kicker Cody Pakey. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles didn't go with Cody Parkey over Alex Henery just on the week Parkey spent with the team after being acquired from Indianapolis, general manager Howie Roseman said Saturday. He said the decision to keep Parkey and jettison 2011 fourth-round pick Alex Henery was based on "all the information we could gather."

Roseman said special teams coordinator Dave Fipp worked out Parkey, a rookie from Auburn, during the draft process. The Eagles signed Vanderbilt's Carey Spear instead because they were impressed with his leg strength, Roseman said, but when the Colts decided to cut Parkey, the Eagles went for him because he has "a tremendous leg," has kicked in big games in college, and was once rated the top high school kicking prospect.

"This isn't a guy who's just come out of nowhere," Roseman said.

So, why Spear instead of Parkey originally, again?

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"Like the draft itself, sometimes there are a lot of balls in the air," when teams start signing undrafted guys as the draft ends, Roseman said. "We did like Spear, and he does have a big leg ... he was actually a really successful college kicker as well. We kept the evaluation process open as we were doing it."

Would the Eagles have gone with Parkey had he not made 53- and 54-yard field goals Thursday against the Jets?

"I'm not big on hypotheticals," Roseman said.

The sense is, the Eagles really thought Henery would be OK after a hard-work offseason. They drafted him to be their kicker for a long time, and he set a franchise record for field goal accuracy as a rookie. But missing two of three field goals in the preseason, while doing excellent work in practice, left the strong impression that Henery was struggling with his confidence, and that this could carry over into the season.

Roseman also noted that the Eagles have made "substantial changes" in their draft process since 2011. (Translation: we would not draft a kicker in the fourth round now.)

That draft is even more of a smoking ruin than ever today, with the team jettisoning Henery and cutting third-round corner Curtis Marsh for the second time. The Eagles have parted with first-round guard Danny Watkins, second-round safety Jaqiuawn Jarrett and everybody else from that draft, excepting fourth-round linebacker Casey Matthews and sixth-round center Jason Kelce.

Roseman said Henery will regroup, in a new setting. He referenced what punter Donnie Jones told the Daily News early last week, about struggles he's been through in his 11-year NFL career, with Seattle, Miami, St. Louis, Houston and the Eagles, and how there isn't always a good explanation.

"People go into down stretches," Roseman said. "Alex is going to get a job, he's going to kick in the NFL and I think he's going to be successful."

Of course, we don't know that the Eagles aren't attempting to sign or claim any other kickers; that can't happen until Sunday at noon.

Other highlights:

*On the surprising decision to keep just three running backs, Roseman indicated the Eagles expect Chris Polk to be healthy by the Sept. 7 season opener. Presumably, they hope to sign either Matthew Tucker or Henry Josey to the practice squad.

*Arrelious Benn went on IR because you can't cut an injured vested vet. He will be released when he is healthy.

*Roseman acknowledged that first-round linebacker Marcus Smith remains a project, but said "the story's yet to be written yet" on his potential.

*Roseman strongly defended Eagles coach Chip Kelly from any raised eyebrows over the five former Oregon Ducks who remain on the Eagles' roster. He said there are fewer hypotheticals with Oregon players, because they've run Kelly's routes, or played in the two-gap 3-4 defense, but evlauations are mainly made on talent. Roseman said Kelly "only wants to win."

*Roseman said the cuts were made Friday and Kelly, who attended Saturday's Ohio State at Navy game, met with each player who didn't make it.

*Nose tackle Damion Square, who made the team as an undrafted free agent, is a "great kid, great worker," but "you can't keep everybody."

*Casey Matthews is still on the team because he plays both inside and outside linebacker and is a special teams veteran, Roseman said. (Also because Travis Long tore his left ACL against the Jets.)

*Similarly, Jeff Maehl can play inside or outside as a WR, and fill several special teams roles, Roseman said.

*Roseman said undrafted rookie Trey Burton, who made the team as a fourth tight end, "had nine targets and nine catches" in the preseason.

*The Eagles cut a fifth-round draft pick, safety Ed Reynolds, for the first time since they jettisoned C.J. Gaddis, also a safety, in 2007. (Reynolds could return to the practice squad, which will be named Sunday.) Roseman said the numbers on the offensive and defensive lines were bigger than usual, and that Reynolds had a lot of ground to make up after missing all the spring work because Stanford is on the quarter system.

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