Eagles Had Just 17th-Best Special Teams Unit in '09

Written By Bob Cunningham On Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kick return touchdowns are rare here in Philadelphia.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News released his special teams rankings on Sunday, something he has done every Sunday after the Super Bowl for quite some time, and there were a few interesting things pertaining to the Eagles.

First off, Gosselin ranks each unit in 22 different categories like return yards, field goals made, average starting position, etc. One point is assigned for being the best in that category, and 32 points for being the worst. Obviously, teams would look for the lowest score possible.

Gosselin's ranking system has become gospel for special teams coaches and their potential employers.

So even after finishing first in two categories (field goals made and punt return average), the Eagles still finish a mediocre 17th, sandwiched between New England at 16 and Baltimore at 18.

The Eagles scored a 367.5, while the team to finish in first, the Browns, scored a 215.5. It's a telling number when you think back to all the special teams breakdowns the Birds had throughout the season. The Eagles obviously expected bad numbers like this, which is why Ted Daisher is no longer on the staff.

There is a bright spot, however.

The Bills special teams unit, run by now-Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April, finished third in the rankings behind on the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- and April did it with half the talent that the Eagles have.

I've always said that I think the Eagles' depth actually hurts them on special teams. Every team needs a few guys who are only on the roster because they're mad-men who will throw their bodies around on special teams just to make a play, and the Eagles just don't have enough of that.

Everyone on special teams feels like they're just waiting their turn to get onto offense or defense, and don't appreciate playing on the kickoff team or the like.

Hopefully April can turn that around and make these guys want to play special teams. If he can accomplish that, perhaps the Birds can vault into that top five position that his Bills units so often enjoyed.

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