In the past when Philadelphia has allowed specialists to go unopposed over the offseason and training camp, like placekicker Jake Elliott and long snapper Rick Lovato are likely to do this spring and summer, the organization has noted that things are always being monitored around the league and if needed, a friendly push or even a replacement is only a phone call away.
As an example of that rookie long snapper Dalton Godfrey out of South Dakota was at the Eagles’ rookie camp last week as a tryout player. While Godfrey isn’t needed right now with Lovato, a former Pro Bowl LS, still performing at a high level, it never hurts to build up a dossier in case of injury or an unexpected decline.
For Siposs, though, he’s got real competition for the first time after being the hand-picked replacement for Cam Johnston after the latter signed with Houston in free agency back in 2020. Siposs had performed well while in camp with Detroit Pro Bowl punter Jack Fox in 2020 and the Eagles felt he was ready for a full-time job.
The results have been mixed for Siposs and his final impressions have been less than optimal as he faltered in a wild-card playoff loss to Tampa Bay after the 2021 season and in in the Super Bowl LVII setback to Kansas City back in February.
The Eagles may have made a calculated mistake by turning back to Siposs in the Super Bowl after shifting to veteran Brett Kern due to what was thought to be a season-ending ankle injury to Siposs. To the Australian’s credit, he worked hard to rehabilitate and get back and the Philadelphia brass may have played a loyalty card it should have left unused.
The big Siposs miscue in the Super Bowl was mishitting a ball which helped Kansas City Chiefs returner Kadarius Toney get loose for 65 yards, setting the dominating Chiefs offense up at the five-yard line en route to a touchdown that put KC up 35-27 with less than 10 minutes to play in what turned out to be a 38-35 setback.
“I don’t think you ever get over Super Bowl losses,” special teams coordinator Michael Clay said. “Unfortunately for myself, this is the second time that Patrick Mahomes has gotten me in the fourth quarter. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to look at the film. You can’t just say, this play never happened. It’s one of those things where if you could go back and picture the perfect play, you obviously want to change the script, but you can’t change what happened three, four months ago, and it’s tough, you’ve got to face the man in the mirror and it all starts with me in terms of we’ve got to get that guy down regardless of the situation.
“Do we want something better to happen? Absolutely. If something does happen better, does it change the outcome of the game? Who knows.”
The men in the mirror at the NovaCare Complex aren’t necessarily planning on pulling the plug on Siposs but they want him pushed.
Enter undrafted free agent Ty Zentner of Kansas State, who offers a big leg and some versatility.
“We tried to look at every punter possible that fits our eye, and going into the process we saw him and we liked his tape,” Clay said of Zentner, who averaged 44.5 yards per punt o 59 punts last season, with 27 of those landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. “Kansas State is not an easy stadium to kick in…kind of got to know him a little bit and see the competitive edge he has, he possesses, and he does have some traits that we look for with his consistency in his drop.
“He has leg strength – then he also has the ability to do kickoffs that could help out our team in certain situations, whether that’s maybe saving Jake’s leg in the preseason, getting those kickoffs off.”
Now it’s Siposs vs. Zenter, with the potential of Door No. 3 if neither impresses.
“We felt that Arryn has done some good things when we first got him a couple years ago, but just like in any facet of the NFL, everything is being evaluated,” Clay said. “… Everything is production-based business, whether it’s myself or the team or the players we have on this team.
“… I think Arryn is going to handle it as the professional that he is. … The competition aspect of the whole thing is not something new or something foreign for these guys, so everyone understands that every draft class there’s somebody coming in trying to take your job.”