NOW I’ve already said that the Eagles would win the NFC East, now it’s time I discussed how.
You have stuff to do, so I’m not going to try and cram it all in one article. Instead I’m going to break it up into 3 parts: Offense, Defense and of course, Special Teams.
Last year due to some ace directional kicking by returning P Donnie Jones, our (KCU) Kick Coverage Unit allowed the 8th fewest PR yards in the NFL. On the other hand, kickoffs (K Alex Henery) were a totally different story. Only 3 teams choked over more yards, and nobody gave up as many TD’s as we did. Nobody.
FS Chris Maragos, and LB Bryan Braman were among the first players we added when Free Agency kicked off. What we added were two guys who are juiced about playing Special Teams, specifically on the KCU. Good teams often have one guy like that. We have two. The idea that we added guys whose energy and enthusiasm could be infectious on our KCU, could have crazy implications. In any case it’s an upgrade in the unit’s attitude.
Last year’s primary KR’s were WR Damaris Johnson and CB Brandon Boykin. We did not have a good year returning kickoffs or punts.
While no one was paying attention, what we also added in RB Darren Sproles and WR Josh Huff, are guys who can add some value to the roster as KR/PR’s. After the totally unremarkable year had by any return man in an Eagles uniform last season, it’s hard to believe that this duo could be worse. Or even as bad.
Sproles hasn’t been a dangerous PR since he became a 70 catch per year guy, but since he won’t catch 70 balls this year, he should able to give us something as a PR. Huff was an on/off KR in college, but if he expects to make this roster it won’t be merely as a receiver. The Eagles have too much depth at WR for that.
Sproles catches a lot of balls but he stills runs more like a RB than a WR in terms of physicality and ability to operate in traffic. The word on Huff is even though he’s a WR, he runs more like a RB in terms of physicality and ability to operate in traffic. These things could not be said about last year’s returners. I look forward to seeing Sproles and Huff back deep together, provided that Chip Kelly decides to use them this way. Even if he doesn’t, this year Kelly has better options than he had a year ago.
Many fans think that K Carey “Murderleg” Spear was brought in to replace Henery, (who apparently can’t make long or clutch kicks). While I would love it to be true that Henery was on his way out, I don’t think it’s the case at all. It seems Spear is just here to push Henery.
Kelly says he doesn’t send messages to players through his action with other players, but that’s bull. If the idea was to replace Henery, you’d go out and get a better kicker. (Like Rob Bironas who as of right now, is still available.) You don’t go out and get a middle of the pack college player if you’re serious about moving on. In any case, unless the Defense sucks balls, our games rarely will be decided by FG’s. Another year of Henery isn’t great, but it could be worse.
Special Teams has quietly undergone a massive upgrade, as bad as it was last year it was still enough to win the NFC East, and I don’t see where our rivals have surpassed us here.