Philadelphia Eagles: Jake Elliott might just turn the corner yet

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

A lot has changed for Jake Elliott going into his fifth season with the Philadelphia Eagles.

He’s got a new head coach in Nick Sirianni, a new special teams coach in Michael Clay, and most importantly of all, a new holder in punter Arryn Siposs now that Nate Sudfeld has returned to the Golden State to play for his childhood favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers.

But could that constant change be just the thing to get Elliott back on track and help him live up to the five-year, $19.3 million contract he signed back in 2019?

If his preseason debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers is of any indication, we might just be in line for a bounceback year from 2020’s least popular Eagle; and, considering that team’s overall popularity, that’s really saying something.

Jake Elliott was drilling dingers in the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason debut.

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Outside of a really lucky screen pass taken 78 yards to the house by Quez Watkins, the Philadelphia Eagles really didn’t get a lot of endzone action in their first of three preseason contests.

Sure, Jalen Hurts moved the ball well in his first two drives of preseason action, and Joe Flacco proved himself a quarterback worthy of top-tier backup status – regardless of what PFF would have you believe – but the Birds’ offense was fairly lifeless in the second half.

Was that due to a severe drop-off in talent from the second/third teamers to the 70th-90th guys with no real chance to make an NFL roster? Or how about Nick Mullens’ ugly outing lowlighted by a pair of picks to bottom-of-the-roster guys?

Either way, one player who got plenty of first half action in preseason game numero uno was Jake Elliott, who got unadvantageous kicking opportunity after unadvantageous kicking opportunity, and yet, through it all, they just kept going in like instant death from a One Punch Man, um, punch.

Kicking off the hold of down under punting compadre Arryn Siposs for the first time in his career, Elliott drained a 47-yard, another 47-yard, and a 50-yard bomb in the waning moments of the first half, the latter of which was set up by an impressive two-minute drive from Tyree Jackson, Kenneth Gainwell, and Flacco.

Elliott also banked his lone extra-point attempt of the contest, a noted problem from seasons prior, even if it wasn’t quite as “down the middle” as one may have liked on a warm, not particularly windy August evening.

Boy, if Elliott can keep that level of good-within-50-yards accuracy up into the regular season while drilling the occasional 61-yard game-winner against the New York Giants, the Eagles’ offense may finally be whole once more, and we’ll never have to see the Birds go for it on 4th-and-7 from the 37 out of fear that they can’t pick up an easy three points.

Which is good news, considering the Eagles didn’t actively solicit completion for Elliott heading into camp and would be in pretty dire straights if his summer looked like the second coming of Alex Henery.

Next. Don’t count out Jordan Howard just yet. dark

With two more games to tighten things up before the start of the 2021 NFL regular season, Jake Elliott still has time to screw this up. But what if he doesn’t? What if Roxy and Willy‘s dad continues to play well, remains consistent on field goals and PATs, and even shows an improved touch on kickoff attempts? What happens then? Well, then the Philadelphia Eagles will have a kicker who lives up to his contract and can help to keep the team in tight games. That sounds pretty good to me.