There has been so much spotlight focus on the Eagles this off-season. Matthews is expected to explode whilst Zach Ertz will be looking to emerge as one of the top tight ends in the league…but many media sources are overlooking last seasons real breakout star.
Rewind to about this time last year. Alex Henery was the resident Eagles Kicker. Kicking 82% of field goals in the previous year and his longest being 51 yards. Enter un-drafted rookie out of Auburn, Cody Parkey. The Philadelphia Eagles made the trade with the Indianapolis Colts in the middle of August to bring Cody Parkey into the Linc. In his final college season, the new Eagle led the entire nation in touchbacks. A few people questioned the move and it may have been one of the first Chip Kelly head scratchers, but they were proved wrong in pre-season where Parkey kicked numerous 50 yard+ field goals to punt Henery off of the roster and earn his spot.
The rest, quite frankly is history. It was almost ironic that he would make his name known to the world properly against the team that traded him in week 2 of the regular season. #LoveParkey thumped a 36 yard game winning field goal to push the Eagles past arguably the AFC’s most intimidating team. From then until the final week of the season, the Eagles’ new hero kicked 29 field goals out of his 31 attempts. Bringing his rookie season percentage to 93.5%. He had never missed an extra point kick and at one stage went on a 17 consecutive success streak when it came to field goals. A record of 5 field goals in a single game came agains the Titans before his first real rookie slip against the Redskins in week 15.
However, he bounced back a week later against the Giants, making both FG attempts. Finishing second in the NFL for most FG points was one thing, being in the top 5 for other kicking stats was another..but breaking a franchise record for points in a season? That’s what won the hearts of Philly fans. #LoveParkey was fast becoming a loved figure in the city of brotherly love and One Pro Bowl appearance later due to Gotskowski’s absence, Parkey is ready to do it all again this season.
In his first year, Cody Parkey ranked inside the top 10 kickers in the league in ALL stats. Beating some of the biggest names in the game and getting scarily close to the very best. The problem for Parkey, like Nick Foles had is the follow up. once you have a big season, everyone expects you to replicate it or do better. The advantage for Parkey is that the kicking game never changes. Foles lost some vital weapons in the Offense and had to adjust whilst Parkey’s job remains the same.
The advantage for Parkey is that he has avoided a lot of media attention. With everyone focusing on the Up Tempo Offense or off-season moves, the kicker has been left to his own devices. Having such a big season is going to come with personal pressure to do better, the less he gets from the media the better. Parkey looks like the kind of player that will succeed under the radar.
The 23 year old is still incredibly young and has a long and successful career ahead of him. Everyone’s focusing on Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz when they talk about breakout seasons. Cody Parkey has already had his and instead is looking to become the most successful Eagles kicker of all time.