Caleb Sturgis missed two field goals inside 50 yards this preseason, but there’s no question about the kicker’s standing on the Eagles.
Coach Doug Pederson supported Sturgis after the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Buffalo Bills on Friday. Sturgis was 2 for 3 on field goals, hitting from 24 and 48 yards, and missed wide left on a 45-yard attempt. One week earlier, Sturgis missed wide right from 46 yards and connected on a 25-yarder.
“None whatsoever,” Pederson said when asked if he had concerns about Sturgis. “Lot of confidence with him going forward. [It’s] something he’s working on every day, and [he’s] got a couple weeks to get it straightened out.”
One summer ago, Sturgis beat out Cody Parkey for the Eagles’ kicking job. He converted all three field-goal attempts and had a strong training camp, too. After going 35 for 41 during the season and proving to be a reliable kicker, the Eagles allowed Sturgis to enter this summer without competition. The 35 made field goals set a franchise record and tied for second most in the NFL last season. His 85.4 percent success rate was his best mark since he entered the NFL in 2013.
It’s too soon to worry about Sturgis, especially because other teams are having kicker problems. But kicking is a fragile position — just look at Parkey’s career in Philadelphia — so it’s worth monitoring how Sturgis finishes during the preseason.
Barnett with the starters?
Derek Barnett has three sacks in two preseason games. Pederson is ready to see his first-round pick against top competition and said he will mix Barnett in with the first unit so he can play against starting left tackles. Barnett rushed against the Packers’ starting left tackle in the opener, but his sacks came when David Bakhtiari came out of the lineup.
“It’s important,” Pederson said. “Obviously, better tackles, better competition is a sign of where you are in your development process. But you could see how quick he is off the ball. You could see how well he bends. There’s just a relentless finish. He plays to the whistle, and that’s exciting. So hopefully these next couple weeks, you know, with Miami coming up, we’ll give him a chance to roll in there with the first unit again and just continue to watch him grow.”
Come the regular season, Barnett will regularly rush against starting tackles. The Eagles rotate their defensive ends, but opponents don’t rotate offensive linemen. Barnett was drafted to be an early contributor, and his play this summer is validating that confidence.