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Jake Elliott's career day earns NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors

Kicker Jake Elliott
Kicker Jake Elliott

Jake Elliott likes to keep it simple. He approaches every kick with the same goal – perfection.

"I'm just trying to strike the ball clean week in and week out, and trying to perfect the craft. I'm trying to have good foot to ball, good rotation, all of the nerdy stuff about kickers," Elliott said on Sunday following the Eagles' 40-29 win over New Orleans in which he boomed four field goals and four extra points for a career-high 16 points. "Obviously things are clicking. (Long snapper) Rick (Lovato) is doing a great job, (punter/holder) Arryn (Siposs) is doing a great job, and I'm just really comfortable. It's fun every day going out with (Special Teams Coordinator Michael) Clay, going out with (Special Teams Quality Control Coach) Tyler (Brown) and the guys, and we really enjoy what we're doing."

Elliott's performance against New Orleans earned him the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week honors, the second consecutive week the Eagles have earned NFC Player of the Week recognition – cornerback Darius Slay was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week from the win in Denver during which he scooped up a fumble and returned it 83 yards for a touchdown. It was also a career day for Elliott, who is having another outstanding campaign for the Eagles.

Here are some specifics to put Elliott's day in perspective:

• Converted a career-high 4-of-4 FG attempts, including kicks from 57, 37, 33 and, 47 yards in distance, and 4-of-4 PATs to finish with a career-high 16 points

• Led the NFL in both kicking points (16) and made FGs (4, tied) in Week 11

• His career-high 16 points are the most by any NFC kicker since Week 2 and are tied for the second most by any NFL kicker this season

• Moved into sole possession of 3rd place on the Eagles' all-time scoring list, surpassing Harold Carmichael (474, 1971-83) and Steve Van Buren (464, 1944-51)

• Connected on his 15th career FG from 50+ yards, which is only 1 FG shy of tying David Akers (16, 1999-2010) for the most in franchise history (including playoffs)

• His 3 FGs from 50+ yards this season are his most since 2017 (5)

Clay admires what Elliott and the kicking operation has accomplished this season – Elliott is 18 of 20 on field goals and he has nailed all 29 of his PATs.

"They're a well-oiled machine between Jake, Arryn, and, really, it all starts with Rick," Clay said. "Rick serves a great, short snap and makes it easy for Arryn to hold and takes the mind off Jake of where the laces are and everything like that. So, in terms of mechanically, they do it for so long, I don't need to tell them anything. I just try to keep them loose and in a great mental space. It's all kudos to them. They're the ones going out there and putting in the hard work. I'm just there as the caddie, 'Hey, maybe you want to do this on this situation,' and let them go out and play."

Akers, reached by telephone on Tuesday night, has long admired Elliott for his demeanor and his compact kicking form. He credits Elliott for working at his profession. Also, Siposs has blended in perfectly as the holder.

It requires a combination of several factors to keep a placekicker on course and the Eagles have all of those cylinders clicking right now.

"It's an element of precision that a lot of teams don't invest in and the Eagles have done that," Akers said. "The goal is to be perfect and even if you can't attain that, you're talking about making an improvement of two or three or four kicks over the course of a season. That can be the difference between having a good year and a great year, of being a good kicker or a great kicker.

"Jake also has the right temperament for Philadelphia. These fans have so much passion and they let you know they have passion, and they see Jake working hard and caring about doing his job. He has, over the course of his career, been very good. He's worked to get through the ball more consistently. It's about staying on top of the kick and getting through it with the hip. He's getting through his kicks beautifully this year and that's why he's been so consistent. I give Jake a lot of credit and I give the Eagles a lot of credit for raising their level of precision. It's been great to watch."

Akers, a member of the team's Hall of Fame and the leading scorer in Eagles' history with 1,323 points and 294 field goals (Elliott has 478 points and 106 field goals), understands the challenges of being great for a long time in the NFL. He was great for the Eagles from 1999 through the 2010 season. Elliott is in his fifth season.

He has a long ways to go to catch Akers. Still ...

"A few more seasons and we'll see, but Jake has it in him," Akers said. "He's smooth and he's a great athlete. He's a great golfer and he is a great tennis player and those are sports where you have to get your hips through the motion. Same with kicking. He just has a great, compact stroke and he's got the right mentality. If he catches me, hey, that would be great. It would be quite an accomplishment and I would be so proud of him."

Elliott, of course, doesn't think that way. He's all about "the next kick." A boring approach, maybe, but it works.

"I just want to have a good day of practice and then another one and then another one," he said. "I try to keep everything right in front of me and get ready for my next kick. I know it's not very exciting but that's the way I am. I know you're only as good as your next kick."

For Elliott in his five-year Eagles career during which he's made 83.5 percent of his kicks – including a career-best 90 percent this season – he's doing all the right things. He's in a groove and he intends to stay in it.

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