Over the past few weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ special teams have dropped off in terms of effectiveness and performance. When they started the year, it appeared that Dave Fipp had his group ready to play and disciplined. We read about how much they practiced it during the week, knew that Donnie Jones was a solid addition as punter and expected Alex Henery to contribute as much as he did last season. We did not expect giving up a kick return for a touchdown, poor blocking, missed tackles and surrendering a blocked punt. If the Eagles want any chance to win on Sunday, the special teams must be ready to play.
Last week, they did make a step forward, with Henery actually making all his field goals. He still can’t seem to get consistent touchbacks on his kickoffs. For some reason, Damaris Johnson still insists on returning kicks that are five yards deep in the endzone. The coverage teams will need to tighten things up against Dwayne Harris who had two huge returns last week against the Washington Redskins.
This is a game that has the potential to be close and the special teams’ can’t afford to give up points and field position. This may also be the game to give Brandon Boykin a shot at returns with Johnson’s continued lack of ability to get it done. A punt or kick-return touchdown could be the deciding factor in the game and the Eagles are more than overdue for a positive special teams’ play that could help to seal the game. This is the time for this group to step up and contribute, making the day easier Chip Kelly, Nick Foles and the defense to get a much needed home win and first place in the division.