Eagles special teams played a key factor in Super Bowl run
In case you forgot the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. Nick Foles was excellent, Brandon Graham came up with a sack fumble but there is a unit that often isn’t mentioned when discussing the run. The special teams were excellent as kicker Jake Elliott came up big time for the birds in his first postseason action.
In the playoffs, Elliott was a perfect seven for seven on field goal attempts including three makes against the Atlanta Falcons and Patriots. His emergence this year following the injury of Caleb Sturgis was monumental to the Eagles success.
Donnie Jones spent the last five seasons with the Eagles. He would provide the Eagles with an elite punter who could be counted on to pin the opponent deep. After defeating the Patriots Donnie Longball called it a career going out in style. He, however, decided later he wanted to return but the Eagles released him in order to save cap space. This now leaves an area of concern. Currently, the only punter on the roster is rookie Cameron Johnston from the Ohio State University.
After 14 years, Donnie Jones is hanging up the cleats.
And the game-worn sweatpants. ? pic.twitter.com/uUOhHizhl9
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 27, 2018
Return game open
The final aspect of the equation will be the return unit. The Eagles will get back explosive return man Darren Sproles. The Sprole train, while seeing a lot of offensive touches provides the Eagles with a viable threat on punt returns.
Never punt the ball to Darren Sproles pic.twitter.com/8bVVmaU2oc
— Made For Philly (@MadeForPhilly) July 27, 2016
In addition to Sproles, there are other options as well. Running back Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood and even Nelson Agholor could be viable options on returns this season.
Dave Fipp up to the challenge
Last season the Eagles special teams overcame numerous injuries to still be one of the better units in the game. Special teams ace Chris Maragos will be returning as well to bolster the unit. After overcoming injuries last year Fipp is excited about this season. With one of the best coaches in the game, the Eagles special teams will be ready.
How can this unit get better
Johnston is the favorite to win the punting battle so definitely keep an eye on him throughout the preseason. The Eagles special teams will be critical this season as they hope to repeat. In close games, they can make all the difference. Look no further than the week 15 game against the New York Giants as the Eagles blocked three kicks en route to a 34-29 victory. Elliott enters his second year looking to improve on an 83.9% field goal percentage. We all remember where we were when he hit from 61 yards to defeat the Giants.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 27, 2018
Are you confident with Johnston at punter? Let us know below how you feel the unit will fair this year.