The special teams? The Eagles ranked seventh in the NFL in net punting average (40.5 yards), allowed 8.0 yards per punt return (11th best in the NFL), Opponents started their possessions after kickoffs at the 24.3-yard line, giving the Eagels a ranking of 30th in the league in that category, and four times in 2013 opponents started possessions on the Eagles' side of the 50-yard line, second-most in the league.
While the return game just missed on some big gains, the coverage group clamped down, helped create favorable field position and aided the defense in keeping the points allowed down. Still, as the numbers show, there is room for improvement.
The Eagles understand the importance of great coverage, and the memory of Darren Sproles' 39-yard kickoff return -- plus a 15-yard penalty on the Eagles for a horse-collar tackle -- for New Orleans in the playoff game still smarts. The Saints started that final drive in the Wild Card Weekend contest at the Philadelphia 48-yard line, whittled away the final 4 minutes, 54 seconds off the clock and kicked a chip-shot field goal to end the Eagles' season.
So as the Eagles go about the process of improving their offense (retaining wide receivers
That's why an under-the-radar addition, like the one on Wednesday when the team agreed to terms with
"He kind of runs the whole show there," said Seattle special teams coach Brian Schneider prior to the Super Bowl. "He's very valuable tome, and that's something I always tell him, how he impacts all of our guys by the way he prepares."
The hopes is that Maragos continues to play at a high level and that the Eagles get another year better under Fipp in kick coverage. Linebacker
Shortly after the Maragos announcement, the Eagles added
Both Maragos and Braman stood out to the Eagles for their play on special teams. They weren't just good in Seattle and Houston, respectively. They were outstanding.
"You don’t find many players of Bryan’s size with the ability to run down the field and make plays on special teams,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “It’s an area of the game that we always have our eye on and look to improve. With his size, we also like his potential as a guy who can compete for spot as an outside linebacker.”
It's not the sexy way to approach free agency, but that's not what this time of the year is about. Now is the chance to bring in players who can help in each phase of the game, and by retaining punter
We're early in the process. Don't judge the roster until it's all in place. Each move means something as the Eagles put together a complex puzzle that isn't finalized until September, if ever.