MOST fans want Alex Henery replaced. Add a guy like Carey “Murderleg” Spear, and that desire to wave goodbye to Henery reaches near critical levels. I mean seriously, Carey Spear even sounds like a warrior’s name, doesn’t it?
The thing is, the more I look at the situation, the more it doesn’t seem like a slam dunk that Spear has a legit shot at Henery’s job. Follow me on this.
As a pro, Henery has an 86% accuracy rate over the last 3 years. In fact, to look at him on paper you’d wonder why fans want him gone so bad. What that stat doesn’t tell you, is that Henery’s accuracy is regressive, as it’s been worse every year. His ho-hum kickoffs are enough to be annoyed with, but the main thing fans have against Henery, is his accuracy in the clutch.
He only seems to miss the kicks that could ice games, or stem momentum. Last year’s game against the Chargers and the playoff loss to the Saints spring to my mind. So does the game in his rookie year against the 49ers, the one where RB Ronnie Brown invented a new way to fumble. (I watched that game over my best friend’s house. He’s a huge 9ers fan. Wouldn’t shut up. Thanks Ronnie.)
So, Carey Spear to the rescue right? Not so fast. Even in college Spear was only a career 78% kicker. His jump from 23 Touchbacks in 2012, to 47 in 2013 was due in part to the new NCAA rule that moved kickoffs up 5 yards. In fact, if you take away Spear’s willingness to hit, you don’t have a compelling reason for him to be here at all.
When Spear mentioned to Dave Spadaro that “Al” had taken him under his wing, it made me wonder if Spear was brought in here mainly to give Henery someone to mentor. There’s nothing revolutionary about it, as many coaches have done something similar. What it does however is focus the mentor. (And hey, if Spears kills it and wins the job, I won’t cry over it.)
The thing about mentoring (I’m actually certified in it (2006)), is it forces you to do little things, and sweat even the small details; because you have to figure out how to “teach what you preach”. You have to model a behavior to teach it. You have to model a technique to teach it. As you teach the pupil by repetition and/or example, you’re also reinforcing/re-learning it yourself. As a result, this year Henery could be the best he’s ever been.
I wouldn’t be so fast to run out and get ‘Murderleg’ on a jersey yet. Henery might still be alive and kicking.