On a frigid night in early January, in front of an inspired Lincoln Financial Field crowd, the Eagles special teams somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the team’s playoff game with the Saints. Following Nick Foles’ go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz, completing a 13-point comeback, kicker Alex Henery struck the kickoff a good seven yards in front of the end zone. This mediocre kick was followed by busted coverage, and a desperation horse collar tackle by Cary Williams. The end has been well documented. Hopefully, the redemption is as well.
On the second day of free agency, the Eagles signed safety Chris Maragos and linebacker Bryan Braman to special teams-based contracts. The pair were two of the best special teams players in the NFL last year. Maragos and Braman also have upside playing defensive positions.
Maragos played on the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and was a solid player on kick coverage. He may have played more on defense had the Seattle secondary not been as potent.
Braman was a solid contributor to a weak Texans team He is from a much different culture than Maragos is: one team is picking first in May’s draft, while the other earns the honorary 32nd pick.
Hopefully, Dave Fipp can plug these players in and redeem his side of the ball. Should he fail, he’ll be gone within minutes of the season’s end. Should he succeed, he may be one of the most heralded special teams coordinators in Philadelphia history. Stay tuned.
Photo: The News Tribune