One of the most under-the-radar stories at training camp has been the presence of rookie kicker Alex Henery, who is replacing five-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers.
Henery participated in his first game at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night against the Ravens. He accounted for seven points as he was successful on both of his two field goal attempts - from 35 and 24 yards, respectively - as the Eagles won, 13-6. All four of Henery's kickoffs landed in the end zone and only one did not result in a touchback.
"I was definitely happy with how it went," Henery said. "I was hitting the ball well."
In his first practice after the preseason game, Henery struggled, however, missing several kicks within the 40- to 50-yard range. He rebounded to finish practice strong as he cleared the crossbar on a 58-yard field goal.
"It's a tough position. This kid is prepared for it," said head coach Andy Reid. "You saw him battle through and make the last kick, which was the toughest kick. I continued to move him back and gave him long-range kicks today and challenged him. He stepped up. A lot of guys, when things aren't going as smooth as they need to go, go right into the tank, and he battled through that and made the last kick which was the toughest one. Showed me a little bit."
Playing such a pressure-filled position, Henery is focused is having a short memory.
"It's just every kick I pride myself. If I miss it, get back up and make the next one," Henery said. "Kicking is only a little part of the thing. It's all mental."
The most accurate kicker in NCAA history, Henery passed his test with flying colors in the Eagles' first preseason game. But the biggest kick is always the next one.
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