The Eagles couldn’t return a kick longer than 35 yards for almost all of Bobby April’s tenure. No matter who they put back to receive kickoffs, they could not get anything going. The most memorable kick return for the Eagles under April’s tenure was in New Orleans this past November when Riley Cooper laid down in the end zone and the Eagles scored a touchdown that was called back because of an illegal forward pass. The punt returns were not any better. Demaris Johnson routinely fielded punts inside the 10 yard line and had one bright spot as he returned a punt for a touchdown against Dallas after the game was out of reach.
Needless to say when April was hired in Oakland as the Raiders special teams coach Eagles fans were both relieved and confused. The next step was trying to figure out who Chip Kelly was going to bring in to replace April. Reports are surfacing from CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank and Geoff Mosher that the Eagles have hired former Miami Dolphins assistant special teams coordinator Dave Fipp to be the team’s new special team’s coordinator. Frank writes,
“The Dolphins this year ranked No. 2 in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings, behind only the 49ers. The Eagles were No. 28 under Bobby April, who is now special teams coach with the Raiders, and have not been ranked in the top 10 since 2004, the Super Bowl season.”
I have never heard of Fipp before this hiring and, to be honest, I believe it is an improvement already simply because it could not get much worse than the slop we witnessed in 2012. The Eagles have a special kicker and players that appear like they have potential but just need good coaching. If the Eagles can win the special teams/field position battle, they will immediately be in a better position to put up big offensive numbers next year.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports