Patience for Parkey

Cody Parkey nearly got the keys to the city for driving Alex Henery out this past week. It's possible that some will want to revoke his keys on even his first misstep.

The Jaguars allowed a shade over 28 points a game in 2013, which is just about what the Eagles averaged on offense. Allowing for the off-season moves that each team makes with optimism for a better tomorrow, it's still reasonably expected that the Eagles will move the ball fairly well on Jacksonville this weekend.

Philadelphia's favored by 11 points, the widest Week 1 margin, so the moneybags are expecting Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense to stomach-punch the Jags into oblivion.

More downfield jaunts mean more opportunities for rookie kicker Cody Parkey to spot up and boot field goals for a stalled drive or two.

Parkey won the kicking job with his two downtown blasts of 54 and 53 yards this past Thursday night, sending shaky incumbent Alex Henery on the first flight back to Nebraska. Henery's three middling seasons with the Eagles (that include five missed field goals within 40 yards) ended with less of a "go the hell home" from Eagles fans, and more of a "Parkeymania is running wild!".

Out with the old, in with the new. Can't grieve forever, right? Not that anybody was grieving for Alex Henery anyway.

How soon, though, could Parkey become that same public enemy?

Parkey's leg strength is naturally an upgrade over Henery, especially when it comes to booming touchbacks, which are what 70.41% of his kickoffs ended up as in 2013 with Auburn.

Accuracy is an issue, with Parkey missing three of his final eight field goal tries (including a 33-yarder in the BCS Title Game against Florida State; Auburn lost by three). Despite Parkey's anointment this week, he's not exactly Mr. Automatic.

Making 54 and 53-yarders with a chance to make a final NFL roster is one thing. What happens if Parkey misses a routine 38-yarder against the Jaguars? Even if the Jags fail to cover, and the Eagles win handily like, say, 38-13, there'll be concern over the miscue that caused the score to not be 41-13, especially with the recent emphasis on the team's kickers.

It's a kneejerk city. Eagles fans are a bit more evolved from the battery-throwing troglodytes that the media makes the group out to be, but it still won't be too kind a reception for Parkey. The honeymoon's over; that pair of 50-yarders he kicked may as well have been during Andy Reid's coaching tenure.

Henery's tenure lowered expectations to subterranean levels. Parkey's upright-splitters have raised expectations, naturally, and it plays right into the hands of a fanbase with too much schizo-thought. We love to christen the new savior when the old one proves mortal. When the next savior comes, it's generally the prior savior that we're burning at the stake in town square.

No matter what happens, patience is the approach to take with a rookie kicker. Sometime within the first six or seven games, he's bound to miss a kick or two. Hopefully for his sake, and our blood pressure, they're part of a string of 13 or 14 made kicks, and they can be written off as "ahh, he just pushed it a bit."

Parkey, at worst, looks more than competent. That's an upgrade over what was there before, so any progress is progress indeed. One missed kick here and there won't kill you.

Unless you boldly added Parkey to your fantasy team, in which case you're free to get the stake.

Follow Justin Henry on Twitter

War Nest Top Stories