Eagles Stay or Go 2023: Specialists

Eagles Stay or Go 2023: Time for a new punter? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro bring back Stay or Go in 2023, trying to figure out the futures of every Eagles player on the roster.

We already looked at cornerbacks, receivers, linebackers, running backs, defensive tackles, interior offensive linemen, edge rushers, offensive tackles, tight ends, safety and quarterbacks.

Jake Elliott

Rob: Really, one of the best clutch kickers in NFL history. Elliott was 4-for-4 this year in the postseason and is now 15-for-15 in his career in the postseason, and only three kickers have ever attempted more postseason field goals without a miss. He’s 5-for-5 in the Super Bowl without a miss – 3-for-3 in 2017, 2-for-2 this year. Elliott is the only kicker in history with two Super Bowl performances with at least two attempts without a miss in either game. His 90.0 percent overall accuracy over the last two seasons is 5th-highest in the NFL, and his 88.9 percent the last two years from 50 yards-plus is best in the NFL (at least five attempts). Incredible resume. When he lines up to kick, it never crosses your mind that he might miss.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The Eagles’ veteran kicker had another very good season in 2022. He made 20 of 23 field goal attempts, including 5 of 6 from 50+ in his sixth NFL season. Elliott just didn’t get as many opportunities. He missed one game with injury and ended up attempting 10 fewer field goals than he did in 2021. But perhaps the most important thing is that Elliott remained perfect in the playoffs, making all four of his attempts during the run, including two in the Super Bowl LVII. He’s now 15-for-15 in his career in the playoffs. Elliott is under contract for a couple more seasons and his spot is very safe.

Verdict: Stays

Brett Kern

Rob: The veteran wasn’t very good in place of the injured Arryn Siposs, but I know one thing. He didn’t have any punts as bad as the Siposs boot in the Super Bowl that Kadarius Toney returned 65 yards down to the 5-yard-line. Kern punted 16 times this year in the regular season and postseason, and only eight of them were returned – for a total of 56 yards. AND total of 56 yards. In the postseason, he punted seven times with 14 total return yards and improved his gross average from 40.8 in the regular season to 44.1 and his net from 36.6 to 39.3. I said it before the Super Bowl and I said it after the Super Bowl. Kern should have been kicking in that game. Still, hey…

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Technically, Kern is still on the roster. The 37-year-old was signed (initially to the practice squad) when Arryn Siposs went on IR and he wasn’t great. He averaged a career-low 40.8 yards per punt and a career-low net of 36.6. He was better in the playoffs, averaging 44.1 and 39.3 net but did have an awful 34-yarder against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Kern won’t be back but there is an even better question coming.

Verdict: Goes

Rick Lovato

Rob: Crazy that the Eagles have only used three long snappers since 2000 – Mike Bartrum, Jon Dorenbos and Lovato. That’s a pretty good long snapping lineage for nearly a quarter of a century. All three are Pro Bowlers, and that’s a pretty good long snapping track record. Lovato is signed through 2023, and once Howie gets Jalen Hurts’ contract done he better get started on Lovato. Can’t lose this guy.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: This is the first time I thought about the Eagles’ long snapper in quite a while, which is a very good sign for a long snapper. Lovato is entering the final year of the contract he signed in October of 2021.

Verdict: Stays

Arryn Siposs

Rob: He was better this year than last year – at least until his last punt of the season. But still not good enough. Punting or kicking in an outdoor stadium in the Northeast is a unique challenge. Jake Elliott has mastered it. In an era where average punters are around 41.5 net average and top-10 punters are in the 42.5 to 44 range, Siposs was near the bottom of the NFL at 39.5. If you factor in the Super Bowl, he’s down to 38.2 Among the worst in the league. The Eagles have to do better. Not just because of the Super Bowl disaster, but because of his entire body of work.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The punt in the Super Bowl was pretty unfortunate. It just can’t happen. Of course, there were plenty of other players who screwed up that play. Ultimately, the Eagles probably need to get better at this spot, but it’s not exactly a priority as they enter free agency with a ton of players they’re trying to keep. The Eagles wanted to keep Cam Johnston a couple of years ago, but his price tag ended up being too high for them and they went the Siposs route. I would probably look for an upgrade but I know the Eagles value consistency and they seem to like him. And with so much else going on, not sure we’ll see that upgrade.

Verdict: Stays

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