Henery cut as Eagles trim roster to 53

Posted: September 01, 2014

Cody Parkey's 54-yard field goal last Thursday was a hint that a change could come at kicker for the Eagles. When Parkey followed with a 53-yard field goal one quarter later, it seemed all but inevitable that Parkey would supplant Alex Henery.

Coach Chip Kelly would not say it after the game, but the Eagles saw enough from Parkey to convince them that the rookie should open the season as the team's kicker. The Eagles cut Henery on Saturday, one of the 22 transactions the team made to trim the roster to the league-mandated 53 players.

Nineteen players were waived; linebacker Travis Long and wide receiver Arrelious Benn were placed on injured reserve; and offensive tackle Lane Johnson went on the suspended list.

Among the notable cuts were safety Ed Reynolds, the first fifth-round pick the Eagles cut before the season since 2007; defensive lineman Damion Square, who was a reserve last season; and running back Matthew Tucker, who scored four touchdowns in the preseason.

Linebacker Casey Matthews made the team for the fourth consecutive season, benefiting from Long's injury; Jeff Maehl remained on the roster as the No. 6 wide receiver; and undrafted rookie Trey Burton made the cut as the fourth tight end.

But the most notable decision was keeping Parkey, who was acquired Aug. 20. Henery, a three-year veteran, missed two field goals during the preseason. Parkey attempted and made three in the preseason finale, and it provided enough of a sample for the Eagles to cut the former fourth-round pick.

"It was all the information that we could gather," general manager Howie Roseman said. "When you're in practice, you get an opportunity to watch those guys in live settings. They get a practice period . . . where [special- teams coordinator Davie Fipp is] tracking them, looking at the kickoffs and the field goals. It was a compilation of all the information, like any other position."

Roseman said Parkey has a "tremendous leg" and is well-built. Parkey was also a top recruit out of Jupiter, Fla., and started three years at Auburn. But the Eagles have a small sample of Parkey in the NFL. Roseman said the decision was not based solely on Thursday's game.

"That would be discounting his college career," Roseman said. "You have a body of work there. All that goes into the equation."

The team drafted Henery in 2011 to replace David Akers, the best kicker in franchise history. Henery became the highest-drafted kicker since 2005, and the investment sank after only three seasons.

"As you look at where kickers have gone, what it is to take the value of the kicker, you've got to learn from it," Roseman said. "We've talked about the 2011 draft, spent a lot of time figuring it out, made some substantial changes in our process to learn from that. It's hard for me to answer that question just talking about Alex because I think about that draft from a broad scope."

Roseman supported Henery, pointing out that Henery was an 86-percent kicker during his career in Philadelphia. Roseman said Henery would still be a successful NFL kicker. It just won't happen with the Eagles.

Elsewhere on the roster, the Eagles kept only three running backs. It sounded as if the team is confident Chris Polk will be healthy after missing all four preseason games with a hamstring injury.

The decision to keep Burton was based on his size and athleticism.

Matthews' versatility and special-teams play compelled the team to keep him.

And Reynolds was the victim of a numbers game, with the Eagles going deeper on the offensive and defensive lines.

"As you get better as a football team, as you have better talent, you're going to have some tough decisions and let some guys go," Roseman said.

The decisions were made Friday. Coach Chip Kelly met with the players then. Kelly attended the Ohio State-Navy game in Baltimore on Saturday, but Roseman said Kelly was in communication with the front office and kept abreast of potential trades and moves.

"He knew everything that was going on throughout the day," Roseman said. "There was constant communication. He's watched a bunch of guys. These conversations don't just pop up now. They've been around. He's infinitely prepared."



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