Jake Elliott, whose booming leg led the Cincinnati Bengals to draft him in the fifth round this year, has agreed to terms with the Eagles, the team announced.
Elliott takes the place of Caleb Sturgis, who tore a hip flexor in Sunday’s season-opening victory at Washington and was placed on injured reserve. If the Eagles ultimately decide they want to bring Sturgis back this year, with one of the two IR slots they can use for returning players, he will be eligible to practice again during the team’s bye week – which follows their Nov. 5 home game against Denver – and he will be allowed to play again Nov. 19 at Dallas.
But if the Eagles think their kicking duties are being handled pretty well, they can leave Sturgis on IR for the season.
Elliott made three of six field goals and converted his only extra point attempt for the Bengals in the preseason. He lost a competition with veteran Randy Bullock, who was more consistent, Cincinnati thought. Elliott played at Memphis, where he surpassed the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski as the leading scorer. Elliott has said he gets advice from Gostkowski.
At Memphis, 210 of Elliott’s 330 kickoffs went for touchbacks, a high number. He hit four field goals longer than 50 yards, including a 56-yarder.
Sturgis became the Eagles’ kicker two years ago under very similar circumstances, stepping in for injured Cody Parkey, who is now with Miami. Sturgis finished the 2015 season, then outkicked Parkey in last year’s training camp.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich spent a good portion of his session with reporters Tuesday talking about the Eagles’ running game, which didn’t fare real well Sunday, with the backs managing just 52 yards on 20 carries.
“We had some good holes, at times. [We] had a few nice gains up there,” Reich said. The Eagles’ longest run of the day covered 7 yards. “You know, I think we all wanted to be a little more effective in the running game. You always feel like in the run and in the pass game — you walk out there – again, you win and you feel good about winning but you say, ‘We left some plays out there. We left some yards out there.’ In the pass game and the run game, you always feel like that, whether it was the design of a play or maybe a player did something wrong or a little mistake here or a little misstep there. That’s pretty normal.”
Left guard Isaac Seumalo, in particular, seemed to struggle in run blocking, but that did not seem to be Reich’s perception.
“I didn’t think anybody up front — I didn’t think any of our players had a poor game,” Reich said. “I think we all looked at it and said, ‘You know what, what we talked about today was, we were far from perfect, but as a group, as a unit, as a team, we have enough talent.’ It’s nice to be able to have enough talent to know that you don’t have to be perfect and still win.”
Talking ’bout practice (squad)
The Eagles made some practice squad maneuvers Tuesday, releasing cornerback C.J. Smith and wide receiver Greg Ward, adding offensive tackle Victor Salako and corner DeVante Bausby. Smith made the team last year as the “other” rookie from North Dakota State and saw special-teams action in 10 games.
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