Jake Elliott Needs to get Back on Track

Eagles kicker has struggled making field goals since signing a contract extension last week, and could be called on in a big spot against New York Giants
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PHILADELPHIA - Four players the Eagles extended contracts to during the month of November haven’t been great so far in the short-term, though it may be nitpicking when it comes to the extensions given to offensive lineman Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson.

Brooks signed a four-year extension on Nov. 11 then his anxiety flared up after 12 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks 13 days later. Brooks hasn’t missed a play since, and he remains one of the NFL’s best guards, so the long-term return still looks good.

Same with Johnson, who signed a four-year extension on Nov. 29 then got hurt 10 days later against the New York Giants and hasn’t played since. Johnson is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Giants, but, when healthy, is still one of the game’s best right tackles.

There certainly hasn’t been anything that has affected long snapper Rick Lovato. Since he signed a four-year extension on Nov. 19, Lovato hasn’t snapped the ball over anyone’s head, yet.

Then there’s kicker Jake Elliott, who signed a five-year extension on Nov. 27.

Elliott has made just six of 10 field goals since then, including missing a pair of them from 50-plus yards in last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys. There hasn’t been anything wrong with Elliott’s PATs; he has made all 10 since the extension.

The kicker could be a concern heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. The Eagles need to win in North Jersey in order to wrap up the NFC East title, and a missed PAT or field goal could loom large.

Elliott’s two misses didn’t cost the Eagles last week, when he went made only one of his three attempts.

The misses came from 53 and 55 yards and gave the Cowboys short fields that they turned into field goals of their own.

“He's disappointed,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “Obviously we're disappointed, but he's going to make more kicks than not. So yeah, a lot of confidence. Just want to keep encouraging him.”

Elliott’s first miss from 53 came with 29 seconds to play in the first half and set Dallas up at its own 43. The Cowboys moved to the Eagles’ 14 but ran out of time and Kai Forbath made a 32-yard field goal. The kick narrowed the Eagles’ halftime advantage to 10-6 and got the ball to start the second half.

The second miss came from 55 yards with 10:58 to go in the fourth quarter. That head coach Doug Pederson even sent Elliott out there after his miss from 53 yards earlier was debatable.

Pederson had a fourth-and-five from the Cowboys 37 when he decided to try a long field goal. The miss once again gave Dallas good field position, this time at their own 45.

The Eagles defense made the decision moot, holding Dallas to another Forbath field goal.

“I just try to encourage him,” said Pederson. “We still have a lot of confidence in him obviously during those moments. That's why I put him back out there for that long 55 yarder there at the end. We still got a lot of the confidence in him.”

There may come a time on Sunday when Elliott will have to reward that confidence.