Do not malign Jake Elliott on Dave Fipp’s watch.
The Eagles’ special teams coordinator vehemently defended his kicker Tuesday when reporters brought up how less effective Elliott has been from 50-yards-plus this year, and really, every year since he banged through an amazing 5-of-6 from 50-plus as a rookie in the Super Bowl season of 2017.
That was the year Elliott beat the Giants, the Eagles' Thursday opponent, with a franchise-record 61-yard field goal on the final play of the game. The last three seasons, Elliott has hit on 5-of-13 from long range, and this year he is 1-for-4.
Sunday, Elliott missed from 52 yards with the wind just before halftime. Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker hit from 55 in a two-point Ravens victory.
“No, I’m not concerned at all with Jake. You can paint any picture you want,” Fipp said. “Obviously, this year he hasn’t connected on as many as we’d like to connect on from that 50-yard range. He’s 100% from all his kicks underneath 52 yards. I think there’s a lot of guys that would like to be there right now.”
Fipp said Elliott is at about 60% on kicks from 50 to 53 yards in his career, which he said is a little above average.
“So I think his numbers are kind of where probably a lot of guys are in the league, right around average in that 50-plus yard area. We’d like to be a little bit better than that. But if you’re saying it’s real concerning, I don’t have the same concerns,” Fipp said.
A questioner pointed out that Fipp’s answer didn’t really deal with the difference between 2017 and the rest of Elliott’s career, including this season.
“You can focus more on this year’s 50-plus kicks, but at the end of the day to me, four kicks is not a huge sample size. I think guys fluctuate from year to year,” Fipp said. “I think if you go back in history, you’ll see that. If you look at guys' 50-plus yard kicks, all 50-yard kicks aren’t the same. Some guys are kicking the ball 50 yards. Some guys are kicking it at 57. Some of those attempts come indoors. Some of those attempts come outdoors. I’m certainly not trying to make excuses up here, so don’t take that the wrong way. But I am saying there are a lot of factors and variables that go into it.”
Sunday’s 52-yard miss, like the 57-yarder Elliott missed in Pittsburgh the week before, faded wide right.
“At the end of the day, just pushed the ball just a little bit to the right,” Fipp said. "Like I said a week ago, the further back you get, the less margin there is for error, and the more perfect you got to be, and we were off just a little bit right there. It’s unfortunate. I’m not trying to stand up here and say that we’re pleased with missing some of those kicks.
“At the same time, I’m certainly not going stand up here and say that I’m displeased with where Jake is in his career and his development. I think he’s on a really good track. I think the guy is a really good player, really talented, and he’s going to continue to get better. ... You can hold me accountable to that when we look back in history at him, in his career. I have no problems with where I stand on him. I think he’s really good, and he’s going to end up having a good year for us. I think he’s playing well right now for us, better than the numbers suggest. I think they get skewed a little bit because of the long kicks."
Eagles left guard Nate Herbig was asked Tuesday what Jason Kelce has meant to the offensive line. On Sunday, Kelce was surrounded by four players who had no Eagles starts before this season.
“I always tell him, like, ‘Jason Kelce for president.’ He keeps us all together and makes sure we’re on the same page," Herbig said.
The Eagles were happy to get veteran Will Parks back from a hamstring injury against the Ravens, partly because of all the situational roles Parks can fill.
“Man, I was deep in the post. I was over in the nickel. Sometimes I lined up inside as a ‘backer,” said Parks, a Germantown High grad, when asked to map his quest in Sunday’s game. It was Parks' debut for his hometown team. “I’m just ‘Wherever Available Will Parks.’ I’ll play anywhere. Not just playing anywhere, but trying to do it at an elite level.”