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April Takes Over 17th-Best Special Teams Unit

Even though the Buffalo Bills finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year, they had one thing to hang their hat on - special teams. And next year they may not have that with the Eagles hiring former Bills special teams coordinator Bobby April to take over as their special teams coordinator.

Rick Gosselin of the *Dallas Morning News *unveiled his special teams rankings for the 2009 season, which he always does the Sunday after the Super Bowl. It is considered the most thorough and accurate portrayal of how the league's special teams units rank against one another.

April's special teams units in Buffalo finished No. 1 in Gosselin's rankings three times in his first five years. He has also been named special teams coach of the year twice by his peers, including in 2008. This year, the Bills had to settle for third in Gosselin's special teams rankings behind just Cleveland and Tampa Bay. The Eagles finished 17th, despite sending three players to the Pro Bowl.

Gosselin explains that the teams are ranked in 22 categories and assigned points according to their standing. Like in golf, you want the lowest score possible. The Browns had a cumulative score of 215.5 which was 41 points better than Tampa Bay. The Bills had 274 points and the Eagles had 367.5 points. As the Eagles look to close the gap with the Dallas Cowboys, special teams will be an area of interest. The Cowboys were fourth behind April's Bills with 288 points.

The Eagles finished first in two of the categories. Thanks to Pro Bowl kicker David Akers, the Eagles were tied for first with 32 field goals. And with Pro Bowl receiver and returner DeSean Jackson, the Eagles led the league with an average of 13.5 yards per punt return.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 9:28 a.m., February 14

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