Jake Elliott is as frustrated as anyone with his recent rash of missed kicks this season.
The Eagles kicker missed a field-goal attempt for the third time in as many weeks in Sunday’s 24-21 win against the New Orleans Saints. He missed extra points in each of the two previous games.
“First and foremost, I just want to say that it’s frustrating,” Elliott said at the start of his Wednesday news conference. “I would say that from the other day, it’s embarrassing, for a lack of a better term. I’d say it’s frustrating because I feel like, especially that day, I was hitting the ball really well. I think you guys probably saw that on the other kicks. But my profession, If you’re not perfect, it’s a bad day. And so it was a bad day.”
Elliott didn’t miss a field-goal attempt inside of 30 yards in his first three seasons, but has gone 1-for-3 on those kicks this season. The 25-year-old has made at least 83.9% of his field goals each year, but he’s averaging just 72.2%, which is ranked 29th in the league. He has made 90% of his extra points, which is on pace to be the worst of his career.
Elliot said his struggles with shorter kicks don’t have anything to do with a mechanical change specifically for chip shots.
“I go out there and I approach them all the same way,” said Elliott, who missed a 22-yarder Sunday. “Obviously I’m not trying to go out there and miss the shorter ones. But I think ... maybe it’s me just kind of finishing my swing too soon and looking up knowing it is one of those shorter kicks. I’ve just got to go back to the basics and finish my swing and make good contact.”
The Eagles signed Elliott to a five-year contract worth about $20 million in 2019. The deal lasts through 2024 and has the third-highest total contract value among NFL kickers.
When asked if the contract is affecting him at all, Elliott said it hasn’t played any role in his sudden regression.
“I don’t think that’s changed me as a person, I don’t think that’s changed me as a player at all,” Eliott said. “I still show up to work and do the same thing every day. I work my tail off. It’s really, really important to me. I’m gonna go out there and work and get this thing right. I know it’s it’s urgent, and I know that it needs to be fixed.”
Pryor to start at right tackle
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that Matt Pryor would slot in at right tackle in place of Jack Driscoll, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
Pryor has started seven games this year as injuries ravage the team’s offensive line. This will be the 13th combination of starters in 14 games, with Jason Kelce the only player to start every game. Pryor, 26, has played both right guard and right tackle for the team this season and came into training camp primarily as a guard.
The Eagles’ offensive line played one of its best games against the Saints but will have another difficult matchup this weekend against the Arizona Cardinals’ front seven. Haason Reddick, a former Temple standout, had five sacks last week against the New York Giants.
“[Reddick] is quick, he’s fast, agile, he can bend, speed rush,” Pederson said. “Obviously, he had a heck of a game the other day, so Pryor’s got to get in here and study the tape and study him and expect him to be prepared.”
After an unproductive start to the season, Javon Hargrave has evolved into the player the Eagles hoped they were getting when they signed him to a three-year, $39 million contract in the offseason.
The 27-year-old had his best game of the season against the Saints, recording two sacks and three quarterback hits against New Orleans quarterback Taysom Hill. He’s up to 4½ sacks this season, two away from his career high.
Hargrave, who played his first four seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 3-4 defensive front, said he was surprised how difficult it was to go from a read-and-react defensive scheme to the fast-paced, aggressive approach the Eagles employ.
“Just coming in, I thought it was going to be ... just easy, just getting up field,” Hargrave said. “But there’s a lot more that goes into it than how it sounds. It definitely was a surprise but it was, like I said, I’m not fully there yet. I’m still learning, so I’ll try to get even better at it in these upcoming weeks.”