When a team loses its kicker and has to turn to a linebacker, the expectations are not going to be high.
When said linebacker shanks a practice kick on the sideline and misses the net entirely, it does nothing to raise them.
But Eagles special teamer Kamu Grugier-Hill did a decent job filling in for Jake Elliott, kicking off four times and even getting a touchback in last night’s thrashing of the Cowboys.
“Everyone expected me to do bad anyways,” he said, via Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “So I [didn’t] have anything to lose.”
The Eagles went for more fourth downs after Elliott left rather than try field goals, and were 3-of-4 on two-point conversions rather than let Grugier-Hill try to score.
That’s likely because of the miss while warming up. Punter Donnie Jones offered to move the net closer to him, but he declined, and his first practice kicks went into the stands.
“Oh yeah,” linebacker Najee Goode. “He definitely hit somebody. He hit a fan and the fan stood up.”
“I was like, ‘Oh this is going to be a little rough,'” Grugier-Hill said. “After that, I kind of got a hold of it.”
Grugier-Hill had some experience (he played soccer and was an all-conference kicker in high school in Hawaii), but had only practiced once since joining the Eagles. Safety Chris Maragos had been their emergency kicker before he was injured.
Since they won, they were able to laugh about it afterward, but they’ll probably need to find someone who can hit the net until Elliott is cleared or replaced.