In one of the weird dynamics of this NFL season, the Eagles won a game because, at the end, their rent-a-Dicker made a field goal while the Cardinals’ rent-a-kicker missed one.
Cameron Dicker made a 23-yarder with 1:45 to play and Arizona’s Matt Ammendola missed from 43 yards with 22 seconds to play.
Game, set, match for the 5-0 Eagles, 20-17.
In this week’s coaches’ critique — where we look at the performance of the Eagles’ coaches, good and bad — we sing the praises of special teams coordinator Michael Clay. Along with special teams quality control coach Tyler Brown.
Dicker also made a 42-yarder and both extra points in relief of the injured Pro Bowler Jake Elliott. Five of his six kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
For his performance, Dicker was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
“It’s cool to be able to help out, keep the streak going [of Eagles winning an NFC award every week this season]. It’s a fun thing,” Dicker said in a video posted on the Eagles’ website.
About the atmosphere in Arizona, Dicker said “Right behind our sideline it felt like a Philly home game. It was cool to see. Then warm-ups, oh my gosh, there’s a lot of Philly fans here … This is going to be sweet.”
- “He went through that whole tryout process on Tuesday,” Clay said. “Then obviously getting him comfortable with the whole operation and everything. So, it was just a weekly process.
- “He was out there Thursday with the field goal unit. He was calm, cool, collected. Regardless of the situation, I thought Cam did an excellent job throughout the week of practice getting prepared for it
- “Then come Saturday and Sunday, you talk to him, and he’s just very cool, like he doesn’t go high or low. So, it was actually really cool to see him go out there and perform like he did.
- “It’s kudos to him, kudos to the field goal unit, the operation. Tyler Brown working with him and just getting him comfortable.
- “You see after all those PATs and field goals, the guys on kickoff all dapping him up, which was really cool to see. A guy that people had known for three days gets the help from everybody else, which was really cool to see.”
SON FOLLOWS DAD’S FOOTSTEPS
Brown is the son of Baltimore Ravens special teams coach Randy Brown, the former mayor of Evesham Township, N.J. Randy Brown has been a kicking consultant for more than 30 years.
Coach Nick Sirianni said when the Eagles chose Dicker they picked whom they thought was the best kicker, not the most experienced. Sunday was the University of Texas kicker’s NFL debut.
- “The comfortability, we all have that short list, like we talked about last week, in terms of Tyler Brown, the front office, who they feel comfortable with,” Clay said.
- “The coaches and the players in this room make it more comfortable. Tyler Brown does an unbelievable job.
- “Obviously, his dad Randy up in Baltimore. But Tyler, when we signed Cameron … spent time with him just to get to know him and work little things out.
- “So, a lot of the coaching from Tyler, [assistant special teams coordinator] Joe P. [Pannunzio] on the confidence and everything, so having a new guy in, yeah, he’s going to be hungry to prove a point.
- “You could say the same happened to Jake Elliott when he was drafted in the late rounds … [drafted by] Cincinnati, then comes in here, and he wants to prove something, which you want people that are out there ready to prove something.”
FUTURE NFL EMPLOYMENT?
After the game, Dicker spoke matter-of-factly about what he had accomplished. Jalen Hurts said he told Dicker that he might have set himself up for future NFL employment.
- “It was nice, you’re in a controlled environment being in a dome and everything like that,” Clay said.
- “But it all goes through that whole communication with myself, Nick, Tyler, Cameron himself, like what he feels comfortable doing [his range]. We’re just trying to make it as comfortable an environment as possible for him.
- “I thought the communication was great. The offense helped out immensely, having those short fields right there to give him a 23-yarder. A 42-yarder, that’s big-time regardless of anything right there. He came in through the clutch and he struck the ball well.”
ESPN broadcast video on Monday showing Ammendola missing three kicks to the right in pregame — exactly where he missed his final kick.
MEETING MICHAEL CLAY
Clay worked for the Eagles in 2014 (defensive quality control) and 2015 (assistant special teams), then spent five years with the 49ers. He returned to the Eagles in 2021.
The San Jose, Calif., native was a four-year letterman at linebacker at Oregon.