PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS)— The Denver Broncos moved fast in acquiring local product Brandon McManus when the former North Penn High and Temple kicking standout was waived by the New York Giants this week.
The Broncos gave up a conditional seventh-round draft pick to New York to acquire McManus while they wait for Matt Prater, the NFL’s best kicker, to serve out his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
There is a simple reason why Denver jumped—because reliable kickers matter in the NFL. The Eagles’ obviously feel uneasy about their current kicking situation to bring in Cody Parkey this late to compete with incumbent Alex Henery.
Last year, Henery didn’t have to be called on in crucial spots that often. That’s because the Eagles’ average margin of victory over the 10 games they won was 14.8 points, which included blowout wins over Oakland (49-20) and Chicago (54-11). Overall, the Eagles scored 442 point (ave. 27.6/per game) and gave up 382 (ave. 23.9/per game), so the point differential was 3.8 a game.
All five of Henery’s five misses came from beyond 30 yards, where he went 15-for-20. In each of his three seasons there has been a steady decline, dropping from 88.9-percent his rookie season (24-27), to 87.1-percent (27 of 31) in 2012, to last year’s 82.1-percent (23-28).
Overall, the average point differential in the NFL was 0. It magnifies the fine line between winning and losing in the NFL. In 2013, Eagles were 2-2 in the four games decided by three points or less. In those games, Henery was 6-for-8, but the two misses would have meant tying San Diego and would have been the winning difference in the Eagles’ playoff loss to New Orleans.
With a far more demanding schedule this season, with games against Seattle, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Carolina and Green Bay, figure on tighter games. Games that could come down to a late field goal.
And who’s to say McManus doesn’t come back home after his four-game showcase in Denver. If Henery’s troubles continue, it leaves open the possibility for another kicker to swoop in and take the job. It’s likely the Broncos will release McManus after Prater’s return, since the conditional draft choice is based or whether or not McManus stays with the team.
While with the Giants this preseason the 23-year-old McManus made a 46- and 47-yard field goal attempts and 10 of his 11 kickoffs were touchbacks.
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