The Eagles special teams units have been dreadful for the last four years. The team hasn’t scored on a single measly kick return in five years. The last time a player did it? When Quintin Demps returned a kickoff for a touchdown in 2008 against the Ravens – the game where McNabb was benched at halftime for Kevin Kolb.
Despite struggling as a unit on special teams in 2009 in Bobby April’s first year in charge, Andy Reid kept April on his staff through the 2012 season. The Eagles’ special teams unit never got any better.
Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly’s appreciation for special teams was palpable on Saturday when the team made its final cuts. They cut offensive talents like Clay Harbor, Russell Shepard, and Matthew Tucker. They also cut Christopher McCoy, who played brilliantly in the pre-season. McCoy was seen as a lock to make the roster after accumulating many sacks this pre-season. The Eagles made these cuts so that special team studs Colt Anderson and Casey Matthews could have a spot on the team.
Under Chip Kelly, special teams will be as important as offense and defense. They practice special teams way more now than they did under Andy Reid. Dave Fipp has his special teams unit playing stout this pre-season, and they look to continue their success into the regular season.
Chip Kelly’s keen attention to details and his realization of its importance will allow this unit to thrive. Chip Kelly knows the NFL is an ultra-competitive league. The special teams unit could be a factor in a couple wins for the Eagles this year.