When the Philadelphia Eagles selected Nebraska product K/P Alex Henery, the immediate assumption was that Eagles veteran kicker David Akers had kicked his last field goal for Philadelphia. It was the second time since the conclusion of the 2010 season that Akers had been all but dismissed from the organization by Eagles fans. The first occurrence happened after the loss to the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
However as fans begin taking a break from their initial reactions; some are under the impression that Alex Henery is not here to replace Akers at all. In fact, it is Australian punter Sav Rocca who could be in jeopardy of losing his job in the Eagles organization.
After I finished completing my grade on the Eagles 2011 draft a fan promptly asked (reminded) me why I hadn’t taken in to consideration the fact that Henery is not only a kicker, but also a punter as well. The truth is I simply had a brain-fart and forgot when I was “in the zone.” The fact of the matter is Henery could be here to resume duties for Rocca and Akers job is safe and sound.
After all, he (Akers) has more than earned the right to stick around if he feels inclined to do so.
Rocca has a tremendously powerful leg which he has put on display numerous times over the last couple of years, booting the ball within the five yard line and backing the opposing offense up against the line. But as powerful and good as Rocca can sometimes be, he can also have days where Eagles fans question ever signing him. I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone of his 19 yard whooper last season correct?
Akers on the other hand has had an extremely brilliant career since entering the NFL in 1999. A five time pro bowl nominee, Akers is known as one of the most accurate kickers in the league and its history, as well as within the Eagles franchise. For the 10th time in his career Akers has recorded over 100 points per season, 2010 was his fifth consecutive year completing this task.
So who exactly is the Eagles fourth round pick Henery here to replace? Is it Akers, Rocca, or both?
Henery was the absolute best kicker/punter in the draft and has proved he can be very clutch is crucial moments. Much like Rocca, but not quite as powerful, Henery has a big leg but his accuracy is more consistent. As good of a player as this Henery kid might be, I don’t believe the Eagles would place that much pressure on a rookie. Both positions are vital to a team’s overall success.
If I could offer my opinion here, my belief has too turned away from the Eagles losing Akers in one way or another. I think Rocca is going to be dismissed from the Eagles once the lockout is lifted again. Akers has earned his right to be in Philadelphia and the Eagles front office is extremely fond of him and the success he’s helped them have. The guy was dealing with his daughter having a serious medical emergency during the playoff loss, and his historic success in the league shows he doesn’t suck.
There is always the possibility that head coach Andy Reid and Akers did have a discussion which forced the drafting of Henery, maybe he didn’t. But one thing is certain; Reid got himself a heck of an insurance plan in Henery if he decides to release Rocca or if Akers will no longer be the Eagles kicker.
It’s only a matter of time before the owners and players come to some sort of an agreement. Other than the TV contracts owners lose money without a season, and players aren’t getting rich by not playing. So both sides will at some point come to an agreement. And when it does Eagles fans will find out exactly what the plan is as Reid and co. puts on the finishing touch in free agency.