After the Eagles hustled down the field toward the end of the second quarter on Sunday, they set themselves up for a 52-yard field goal that would’ve been their first three points in the game.
Jake Elliott missed the kick and the Eagles ended up losing the game by two points. As Andy Reid once said, we can do the math. It’s not like 52 yards is a chip shot but Elliott’s missing long kicks has become a troubling trend in recent seasons. After he nailed 5 of 6 field goals from 50+ yards as a rookie in 2017, Elliott has made just 5 of his last 13. And he’s just 1 of 4 on those kicks this season.
That has a lot of people worried. Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp isn’t one of them.
“No, I'm not concerned at all with Jake,” Fipp said on Tuesday.
Fipp on Tuesday tried to break it down further:
- He said Elliott is hitting 100% on his field goals under 52 yards this year; that’s true, he’s 6/6.
- Fipp said Elliott has made 60% of his kicks from 50-53 yards; that’s almost true, he’s at 58.3% in his career.
- He said Elliott is making just under 90% on his kicks under 50 yards; yup, he’s at 89.9% in his career and 92.6% since 2018, which is great.
But hitting on 5 of 13 from 50+ since 2018 just isn’t good, no matter how you slice it.
- In fact, it’s the third-worst percentage in the league among kickers with more than two attempts during that span. Just two kickers are worse.
- Only five kickers have attempted more 50+ field goals since the start of 2018. But 20 kickers have made more. The league average from 50+ (excluding Elliott) since the start of the 2018 season is 62% and Elliott’s at 38.5%.
- And it’s not even that Elliott is trying FGs that are all much longer. He’s made 2 of 6 (33%) on field goals from 54+ since 2018, while the league average (excluding Elliott) is 57.4%.
“I have the fortune of seeing the guy kick at practice all the time,” Fipp said. “I have a lot of data on him that some of you guys don't. I'm not going to get into all of that stuff, but at the end of the day, I will just tell you emphatically that I feel great about the guy as a player. 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.”
The Eagles better hope Fipp is right because last November, they invested in Elliott. They signed him to a five-year extension worth around $20 million with over $10 million guaranteed. His APY of around $4 million puts him in the top 10 among kickers.
Of course, none of his recent struggles on long field goals take away his accomplishments. That 61-yarder against the Giants in 2017 helped springboard that magical run. And Elliott has made all 11 of his field goals in the playoffs, including 3 of 3 in Super Bowl LII.
But his lack of accuracy on long kicks in recent years seems concerning. Even if Fipp doesn’t see it that way.
“When I look at his overall numbers, I don't think he's far off average, maybe a little bit above average for where he's at in his career, in his development,” Fipp said. “I think he's in a really good spot. I think he will continue to get better. I think the trajectory will go up.”