Judge: April Among Assistants Who Will Impact New TeamsCBSSports.com's Clark Judge understands that it's not just the addition of talent from a player personnel perspective that makes a difference in a team's off-season. He knows that acquiring talent in other areas, such as coaching, can have just as significant an impact on a team's destiny.
Judge points out Denver's addition of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan last off-season. Judge writes that there is no way that Denver would have been 8-8 (at least they started 6-0) without Nolan.
Judge takes a look at five assistant coaches who have been acquired this off-season who could have a similar impact on their new teams. One of them was the Eagles hiring special teams coordinator Bobby April.
"I don't care how good your special teams are. Hiring Bobby April will make them better," Judge wrote. "The guy has been one of the pre-eminent special teams coaches for years, and Buffalo's loss is the Eagles' gain. The Bills always were threats with their return and coverage units, with April the brains behind both. But when they changed head coaches they lost April, who was scooped up immediately by Eagles coach Andy Reid."
Judge points to how special teams can shape the outcome of a handful of games over the course of the season. And for a team like the Eagles, one or two games could be the difference between traveling to Dallas for the wild card game and hosting a playoff game as the No. 2 seed.
"I've seen (April's) special teams steal games in Buffalo," Judge wrote.
Judge quoted an AFC assistant coach who said that part of the reason for April's success was that "special teams (in Buffalo) were a priority." It's hard to imagine that April would have signed on with Philly if he didn't think that was the case here as well.
Judge noted that the Eagles need to improve their kickoff return (Eagles ranked 30th in 2009) and kickoff coverage units.
"That will be April's first project," Judge wrote. "Buffalo was top 10 in both departments, and that was after it lost returner Leodis McKelvin after three games.
"Bobby April will make the Philadelphia Eagles a sounder, more complete team, and that qualifies as a good hire."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:28 a.m., February 22