Something Special

Posted: February 16th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 126 Comments »

Dave Fipp is a darn good coach.

Not only does he have the eyes to back that up (and steal your soul), he’s got the stats.

I remember the 1995 Eagles, where STs were a joke. Tommy Hutton had a punt blocked and returned for a TD. Gary Anderson hit 73 percent of his FGs, and he was a weak-legged kicker at that point who specialized in accuracy. His longest FG was 43 yards. 43!!! Those Eagles allowed a pair of PRs for TDs. They gave up 26 yards per KOR.

Ray Rhodes loved veteran players so he loaded the roster with those guys. Players in their late 20’s and early 30’s are not great STers for the most part. They want to play on offense or defense. If they weren’t the worst STs in the league, they were close.

The current Eagles are worlds different.

The Eagles impacted the game in every way on special teams this past season. The Eagles ranked second in the NFL with a franchise-record 27.3-yard per kickoff return average, thanks to a promising rookie year from Wendell Smallwood. Philadelphia led the league with five kickoff returns of 50-plus yards, and was the only team with multiple kickoff return touchdowns. The Eagles also finished second in punt return average (12.9 yards per return) with Darren Sproles leading the way. Another benefit from the special teams unit was that the Eagles had the best field position following a kickoff on both offense (27.2-yard line) and defense (22.7-yard line) in 2016.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis also made history for the Eagles’ special teams. In his first full season with the team, he connected on 35 field goals, both a career high as well as the most by any Eagle in a single season. Sturgis began Training Camp in a battle with Cody Parkey, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2014 but was placed on Injured Reserve with a groin injury the following season. Sturgis won the job and Fipp is excited about the future with him.

Fipp is a very good coach and the organization uses resources to build up STs. They traded for Darren Sproles. They signed Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman. They added Kamu Grugier-Hill last summer because they thought he could be a stud on STs.

I’m interested to see what happens this offseason. Braman is a UFA. Will the Eagles bring him back or will they try to find a 4-3 LB to fill his role? Braman played a little defense this year as a DE, but was almost exclusively a STer.

Sproles has said this is his final year. Will the Eagles try to add someone to learn for a year or will they wait until next offseason and just fully replace him at that time? Could Byron Marshall and/or Kenjon Barner be his replacment(s)?

Doug Pederson was very wise to keep Dave Fipp around. He’s done a terrific job of working with the kickers/punters, the cover guys, the blockers and returners. I can’t imagine where the Eagles would have been the past 3 years if they had mediocre or bad STs. Things were hard enough with them being an elite unit.

*****

Gregg has a feel for these things. That doesn’t make him right, but he’s worth paying attention to.

I don’t want the team to be overly-active. I want them to be smart shoppers. As fun as it is to see them make a lot of moves in March, offseasons like that rarely pay off. You need to add a big piece or two and then find some good fits.

*****

A lot of times we see teams get active before the Scouting Combine. That starts on Feb 28th this year. Cuts could happen next week or early the next week. Teams cut veterans they know they can’t deal before free agency to give those players a chance to shop themselves. That’s how you maintain good relations with players and agents.

It would be nice if the Eagles were able to deal guys like Mychal Kendricks, Connor Barwin and Jason Kelce. I think Barwin is cut. The other two I think will be dealt, but that might happen in March or it might drag out a bit. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Eagles will be making some cuts soon. They need the cap room.

_


  • daveH
  • Pingback: Something Special -()

  • A_T_G

    We had the best average starting position at 27 yards and allowed the worst starting position at 22 yards. That makes me think the average isn’t a good way to measure that stat. I bet the range is much more telling than the average.

  • ProbablyDrunk

    I hate being 20 and not witnessing most of our history ):

    • John Galt

      Fortunately for you, unfortunately for the rest of us, you caught the best period and didn’t miss much. Although the late 80’s early 90’s were a lot of fun on D

    • anon

      enjoy being 20.

    • A_T_G

      Don’t worry, there is plenty of time to be old later. Enjoy where you are at.

    • Mitchell

      *replied to wrong post*

    • eagleyankfan

      history? You missed a gas shortage and a Flock of Seagulls and that’s about it….

      • HawaiianEagle

        And several dallas sb wins…

    • P_P_K

      Don’t worry, young man, there’s a whole future of Eagles disappointment ahead. Such is our fate.

    • Corry

      My earliest football memories are of the early 90s Eagles. Those were some fun defenses. We don’t talk much about the times in between then and the Reid era.

      I think the disappointment of the Eagles has made me a tougher person though.

    • Media Mike

      I feel for you. I’m 40 and came into my fandom of the team just as Buddy was getting into swing here. I’ve been able to see Buddy’s teams goon people, the greatest D in the history of the concept of defending anything in 91, Ray Rhode’s “they’re coming here to rape your whole family” pep talks, the Reid ascendancy, the Chip roller coaster, and now the impending Wentz dynasty.

  • anon

    So only cox remains from 2012? Foles about to be out of the league.

    • Dave

      Vinny Curry and Mychal Kendricks

    • Mitchell

      Curry/kendrick$?

    • Sb2bowl

      Foles will latch on somewhere, but not for the $6.8m he was scheduled to make.

      It’s stupid to pay a veteran backup QB $7m a year.

      Oh, wait…………..

  • ChoTime

    ST is such a strange little corner of the NFL. We have a bad offense despite investing lots of resources in it, and we have a great ST despite getting some no-name kicker. We hired the best ST coach in Bobby April and it didn’t worked. This Fipp guy seems to be doing a great job and any returner he puts back there is busting long ones.

    In the picture, only one of his eyes is crazy. It’s like it’s too early in the morning to be THAT intense.

    • Sean Stott

      You can tell he’s a morning person.

  • Buge Halls

    Sturgis set a record with 35 field goals. The one thing that tells me is they couldn’t get the ball in the endzone often enough (I know, I had to go negative!). Change even 25% of those FGs to TDs and who knows what this season would have been like!

    • Corry

      Negative, but totally true. They got bogged down in the red zone way too often.

      I also have to wonder how many of those dropped passes directly lead to long field goals instead of moving into the red zone (where we’d probably kick a field goal anyways).

    • BobSmith77

      Mediocre to lousy red zone production has been a long-term issue here going back to the early days of Reid despite some really productive offenses

  • Corry

    I’m eager to see how the team shapes up between now and the start of the season. I’m assuming we get receivers in FA and then go heavy on defense in the draft.

    It shouldn’t be a boring offseason.

    • Sb2bowl

      Ya- probably bring in one 2a tier receivers and maybe a 2b (as opposed to 1a and 1b- think Jeffrey and Stills). Ensuring a starting CB probably should be up there as well so that we don’t need to reach for one or specifically draft for need come April, though I think we’ll add 2 in the draft to grow in the system.

  • scratcherk

    Sign me up for a ticket on that Kenny Britt bandwagon. Window seat please! Choo choo!

  • Mac

    Anyone else want to join in the Nickel Standard?
    (In honor of Joe “Nickels” Banner)

    Criteria: meets a team need, offers the hope of being better than nolan carroll, not going to break the bank (Cool Sunglass Dave: you can include one or two expensive, but not elite guys money players if you want 🙂

    1. Kenny Britt
    2. Marquise Goodwin
    3. Stephon Gilmore
    4. Marcus Cooper
    5. Bennie Logan

    • Mac

      D3FB’s list (which I like)

      Britt (7-8 mil), Goodwin (2mil), Gilmore (12mil) and keeping Logan
      (7mil) plus Keenan Robinson or Paul Worrilow (2-3mil) is pretty much
      what I’ve come to view as the optimal FA season.

      • Corry

        I think we’d be in good shape for the draft if we ended up with this group in free agency.

    • meteorologist

      Kendall Wright
      Robert Woods
      Logan Ryan

    • Insomniac

      Trumaine Johnson
      Zach Brown
      Chance Warmack
      Stephen Paea
      Marlon Brown

      • Mac

        Warmack and Paea are compelling possibilities.

    • Sb2bowl

      Not sold on Gilmore, but he’s got to be an option since he was with Schwartz in Buffalo.

      Johnson and Mcleod played together in St. Louis, so there’s an advantage for that potential, though I’m not a huge fan of Trumaine.

      I like Ryan from NE, seems like the type of quality character we could groom some young guys around.

      I’m hoping we bring Britt in, I think he could help DGB mature and they have a similar story (troubled early in their career, big bodied receivers who didn’t live up to their potential initially).

      • Mac

        I’m kinda hoping the down year/schwartz connection gets a small discount on Gilmore.

        • Sb2bowl

          Wouldn’t bother me one bit- gives him a chance to make his name in a city bigger than Buffalo as well. We need a CB with lock-down potential, and he’s got the ability.

          I didn’t realize that he had 5 Int’s last year on that team; he isn’t typically a ball hawk as he only has 13 over his career. Typically, he’s good for about 3 per season, with last year being the anomaly.

          What scares me is this- he’s probably going to get close to $13m/year from a team that really needs the help; what’s a discount on that, $11.5m for us? He’s 26, so this is the contract where he makes his money.

          • Mac

            And at 26, he could be part of the real solution to CB. Or he could be another complete waste of space… We’ve gotta keep trying to find that guy, which is why I’d like to see some effort in FA and the draft at the position again this year.

    • Tumtum

      1. Mario Williams
      2. Alshon Jeffery
      3. Benny Logan
      4.Urlacherzzz

      Did I do a good job?

      • Mac

        Everybody gets a trophy for trying these days.

  • BobSmith77

    Still wonder if Fipp is going to try to make the leap to a Head Coaching spot ala Harbaugh in the next year or so.

    What is the realistic next spot on a coaching staff though if you are the Special Teams Coordinator? Seems like a dead end unless you can somehow defy the really long odds to get a head coaching job or pivot to a offensive/defensive coordinator position.

    • Sean Stott

      They can always just keep paying him more. From a hierarchy level, off/def/st coordinators are all equals.

    • laeagle

      Based on history, the next spot would be secondary coach…

      • Sb2bowl

        Perhaps we can make him our Offensive Line coach, and then promote him to Defensive Coordinator?

        • A_T_G

          Wow, that is a little scary…

          • Sb2bowl

            You and I posted this at almost the exact same time………. truly a tortured fan base.

    • D3FB

      The beats don’t think it’s likely at all. He’s a good coach but pretty private and doesn’t exude the personality of a head coach.

      I think there’s a chance he may look to become a DB coach at some point but I don’t think he’s terribly interested in becoming the head man.

      • Anders

        Great news for us. I guess its bigger to be considered the best ST coach in the NFL over been a DB coach

        • D3FB

          Money is pretty much the same, just comes down to what he wants to do.

  • BobSmith77

    Nice example Tommy of why Rhodes was an poor and overmatched head coach. We differ on what we think of Rhodes as a head coach but he struck me as a guy completely out of his depth as a head coach who was largely saved by Gruden as the OC & a veteran defense with some quality players.

    ’98 Eagles were still the worst single season of Eagles’ football I have watched. Crumbled offensively after Watters left and they errantly though Hoying was the answer at QB.

    • ChoTime

      I didn’t watch either, that year, just getting into the job market and all. Was it worse than Chip’s last year? That was not a fun season.

      • Media Mike

        Yes. MUCH worse. They were the worst team in the NFL that year, but didn’t draft #1 overall because the Browns were awarded the pick as an expansion team.

        • ChoTime

          Ouch! Chip’s last year was bad because of expectations more than actual record, of course.

    • Media Mike

      That 98 team was soooooooooooo bad.

  • GermanEagle

    Predict that the ‘usual annual shocker move nobody has expected from the Eagles FO’ this year!

    Time’s yours.

    • Insomniac

      We don’t draft Corey Davis or Dalvin Cook.

      • Sb2bowl

        And we take Joe Mixon with our first round pick!

        • Insomniac

          At least McNabb wouldn’t be the most boo-ed player that we drafted if that happened.

    • A_T_G

      Move Dave Fipp to OL coach as a stepping stone to replacing Schwartz as DC.

      • Sean Stott

        so meta

      • Tumtum

        Might be a good idea. Apparently Harbs is on the hotseat this year. Ravens might go right back to the well.

        • Sb2bowl

          So, do we get rid of Doug in favor of Harbaugh?

          • Tumtum

            When the Ravens steal Fipp, Harbs just takes that job.

          • Sb2bowl

            Those bastard Ravens. NEVERMORE!

    • Tumtum

      Jason Peters moves back to TE.

    • Stephen E.

      Re-sign Greg Lewis… at WR.

    • scratcherk

      Cutting JP.

      • scratcherk

        oh didnt realize this was a joke thread. ok how about….

        Dorenbos to QB and he magics the ball into the WR hands… who then still drop it.

    • Corry

      Carson Wentz: super-star cornerback.

    • P_P_K

      Ah, man, that’s too easy — signing Romo.

      • A_T_G

        You have a sick, twisted mind.

        • P_P_K

          That’s a compliment in some circles.

    • Media Mike

      Public execution of Norman Braman to fully exorcise the demons of the past.

    • Mac

      Increased ticket prices?

  • daveH

    Im interested to see what we do this offseason

    • P_P_K

      Me too, which explains why I am checking Iggles Blitz so frequently. Something has to happen soon.

      • daveH

        Yesh shud be interesting

  • unhinged

    At the risk of waking the dead, a ton of credit for the status of the Eagles ST goes to Chip whatshisface. He emphasized it and infused it with youth and TALENT THAT IS STILL PERFORMING.

    • Media Mike

      That’s 100% fair. Fipp was a great hire does a great job with special teams.

    • Mac

      Maybe Chip’s future is as special teams coach somewhere.

  • A_T_G

    With the draft in Philly this year, does our FO feel any pressure to draft a crowd pleaser, like WR or CB, over OL of DE?

    • NinjaP

      well i would hope anyone that cares about that sort of thing has no say in the draft room. But I do think we will take a CB anyway.

    • Insomniac

      Don’t we already boo everything?

    • BlindChow

      I’d like to think the FO is looking at prospects based specifically on which the crowd is most likely to boo. I mean, we have an image to protect!

    • Media Mike

      I feel a lot of pressure to exclude 31 other fan bases from our premises and to let the Giants, Dallas, and Washington know that their picks are all busts.

    • ChoTime

      I’d think they feel pressure to draft a Lurie pleaser at this point.

  • HawaiianEagle

    Trump not all bad. He just signed exec order stating dallas no longer America’s team. Cool.

    • P_P_K

      Real or fake news?

      • ChoTime

        Strange, since I’d assume Dallas fans skew Repug big time.

        • P_P_K

          Probably accurate, except in Austin.

          • Bert’s Bells

            They’re mostly Longhorn fans in Austin.

          • ChoTime

            The only Texas city I’d live in. 🙂

          • P_P_K

            A lot of Austinites don’t think of their city as part of the Lone Star state.

          • ChoTime

            Down the line we’ll find out that Trump Industries bought the Patriots or something and there’ll be an executive order that they’re the new America’s Team.

            And Tom Brady will be appointed Minister of Fair Play in Games.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Just another swipe at Christie.

    • HawaiianEagle
  • 简约不简单,大气有内涵!

  • Media Mike

    Early morning mock…….

    Round 1 Pick 17 (WASH): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington (B+)
    Round 2 Pick 11: Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple (B+)
    Round 3 Pick 10: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State (A)
    Round 3 Pick 17 (WASH): Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte (A)
    Round 4 Pick 7 (WASH): Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina (A+)
    Round 4 Pick 12: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo (B+)
    Round 4 Pick 33 (COMP): Julien Davenport, OT, Bucknell (A-)
    Round 5 Pick 11: Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas (B)
    Round 6 Pick 10: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech (A+)
    Round 7 Pick 12: Nate Hairston, CB, Temple (A)

    I’ve kind of moved on from Marlon Mack at RB due to Duffy from the Eagles pointing out how often he likes to turn just about any run into a sweep. Been there / done that Bryce Brown, so I moved onto Hunt at this point.

    I think I’ve obtained starters ar CB, LG, WR, and RB (Jones, Dawkns, Jones, and Hunt)

    Walker and Ogunjobi upgrade the depth on DL, Davenport does so for OL.

    Sprinkle is here to goon people and take over Celek’s role for 2018. Henderson is a shot at some WR depth and Hairston is the same for CB.

    • D3FB

      Henderson is probably going to go top 50.

      Dawkins that’s early.

      HATE Walker.Tape does not match production.

      • Mitchell

        Why do people always point out the negatives? At least you could give him something you like about it too.

        • Media Mike

          I don’t mind D3’s feedback, but good looking out. His stuff is usually good.

          • Mitchell

            I know brother, just giving him a bit of a hard time. Henderson is gonna go way earlier though. I thought he wasn’t coming out for the draft though.

          • Media Mike

            No doubt. It’ll remain odd on the valuation end until we get closer to the draft.

        • D3FB

          Because I’m mean.

          • Mitchell

            Lol I know you are. I need to know your thoughts on Marshon Lattimore. I see a project but idk.

          • D3FB

            Too many corners that require too much tape time.

            In general he’s super talented but taking a kid with 800 college snaps super high is terrifying.

          • Mitchell

            I watched him last night and I’m not impressed. I see the athleticism and what he CAN be but I dont trust it.

        • D3FB

          Since I was so rude here’s my mock offseason

          FA:
          Gilmore
          Britt
          Logan
          Goodwin
          Keenan Robinson

          Draft (assuming we get back one extra 6th from a trade because I’m not greedy)
          1: Cam Robinson OL Bama
          2. Marlon Humphrey CB Bama
          3. Daeshon Hall DE TAMU
          4. Chad Hansen WR CAL
          4. Matt Dayes RB NCST
          5. Xavier Woods S La Tech
          6. Ben Boulware LB Clemson
          6. Trent Taylor WR La Tech
          7. Nate Hairston CB Temple

          • Mitchell

            Henson seems like an interesting player. Jumping on the Patriots white guy trend?

          • D3FB

            More that he worked out with Wentz and isn’t 24 like Kupp. Can make contested catches down the field, and showed some nice wiggle on quick screens (which we need). Route running needs alot of work but he can have a short term role and maybe you get lucky long term.

            I fucking adore Trent Taylor though. (T.O. Tears) That’s my jitterbug slot WR.

          • Mitchell

            Havent watched him but Im going tonight probably.

          • D3FB

            Dayes is a monster, Woods is being underrated because this safety class is batshit, Boulware is a bad propsect but good football player so worst case he becomes a FB or ST nut.

          • Mitchell

            Im gonna watch some of these guys so I can tell you how shitty your mock is!

          • D3FB

            Fight me doctor boy

  • Insomniac

    Less than 10 days away from the combine.

    • Dave

      I’m very thankful I have a DVR as I will save the combine (after watching it twice), and then rewatch it after the draft to see what Mayock had to say about each of our draft picks. I did the same with Wentz in the Senior Bowl last year.

      • Tdoteaglefan

        Nice, thats exactly the same thing i do each year. I also record the senior bowl

  • Insomniac

    14: R1P14
    RB LEONARD FOURNETTE
    LSU
    43: R2P11
    EDGE HAASON REDDICK
    TEMPLE
    74: R3P10
    CB QUINCY WILSON
    FLORIDA
    117: R4P12
    WR TAYWAN TAYLOR
    WESTERN KENTUCKY
    138: R4P33
    G ISAAC ASIATA
    UTAH
    156: R5P11
    WR CARLOS HENDERSON
    LOUISIANA TECH

    Wouldn’t be mad at this draft honestly.

    • Media Mike

      What board did you use?

      • Insomniac

        I always use CBS.

    • Dave
      • Insomniac

        You’re damn right and you’re going to love every second of it. He has nift, just not Shady level nift.

        • Dave

          too funny

      • ACViking

        This is precious

    • Media Mike

      14: R1P14 WR COREY DAVIS WESTERN MICHIGAN
      43: R2P11 CB CORDREA TANKERSLEY CLEMSON
      74: R3P10 G DION DAWKINS TEMPLE
      117: R4P12 S MARCUS MAYE FLORIDA
      138: R4P33 DL TANZEL SMART TULANE
      156: R5P11 EDGE TREY HENDRICKSON FLORIDA ATLANTIC
      195: R6P10 RB DEVINE REDDING INDIANA
      233: R7P12 LB BRANDON BELL PENN STATE

  • BobSmith77

    Reuben Frank was on WIP and I was tuning around on the drive home. Actually made a few decent points for a change:

    – Eagles had the oldest average player under contract at the end of the season in the NFL; they are only the 3rd oldest team now
    – Advantage of Wentz’ early years is having a franchise QB tied at cheap salary cap numbers and a team can spend in others areas but where is the talent on this team 25 and under (Wentz, Hicks, Matthews, and a huge failoff after that)?
    – As tempting as it is to draft Cook with the 1st round pick, RBs picked in the first round have been incredibly disappointing the past decade.
    – Vehement against them signing Jeffrey or even a huge contract to a FA CB even though they have a big need for starters
    – As much as the Eagles really need a CB (they don’t have a starter on their roster right now) and WR (Matthews and a bunch of underwhelming options), they need to focus on taking the ‘best player available’ in the first 2 rounds this year and seriously think about trading back a few spots to get extra picks this year and next

    • Fufina

      Eagles age point is stupid – we have some of the oldest specialist in the NFL – Jones 36, Dorenbos, 36 – getting younger at those positions is hardly an issue – and replacing them with a pair of guys in their early 20’s knocks off 1/2 a year in our age average.

      Over 30 players are – Tulloc (32), Celek (32), Barbre (32), Sproles (33), Peters (36) and Jones 36, Dorenbos, 36.

      Peters is tough to replace, but while Celek/Barbre/Sproles are good players finding blocking TE’s, swing OL and 3rd down RB’s is not that tough. Replace those guys and you have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

      The 25 year old line is a #hot-take because Cox, Ertz, Johnson and McLeod are all 26 and some of our best players and will be around for 4+ years in their peaks.

      Eagles do have long term needs – all teams do, but short term we need a WR1 and a pair of outside CB’s and this roster is pretty legit. We faced the hardest NFL schedule last year with a rookie QB and won 7 games and should have frankly won more. Team is in a decent place and 2 savy free agent signings and a good draft could make this team have the potential to go a long way in an NFC lacking great teams. (Cowboys will loose 4-5 starters in FA and have no cap to replace them – and their defence will regress because it lacks talent).