Players, Not Coach, Will Dictate Special Teams Success

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

There is a lot to like about the Eagles (reported) hire of Dave Fipp yesterday as Special Teams Coordinator.

First, Fipp coached as an assistant on one of the top units in the league last year with the Miami Dolphins. Second, Fipp has known Chip Kelly for a long time and is aware of the pace and speed he likes to practice at. Finally, Fipp comes in as a young coach still looking to build a name for himself in the league. He'll be hungry and not in the Andy Reid way.

The harsh reality, however, is that almost none of that matters.

More than any other coaching position, the success of the special teams coach is directly tied to the level of players he has to coach. A defensive coordinator can hide a bad linebacker, a defensive line coach can scheme to make up for a lack of talent, an offensive coordinator can keep a player from running a certain route. A special teams coordinator does not have that luxury. Schemes can be drawn up, trick plays can happen, Riley Cooper can lay down and try to hide, but that won't matter if the talent isn't there or the players are not motivated. At the end of the day, special teams are won by effort and the level of the backups on the team.

The Eagles learned that the hard way these past few seasons.

Bobby April came to the Eagles considered one of the best special team's coaches in the league. Needless to say, things did not exactly pan out the way Andy Reid hoped it would. The numbers speak for themselves as April's unit scored a grand total of two touchdowns during his time in Philadelphia, with one coming in garbage time at the end of last season. While April does deserve part of the blame, the fact is that as this team has continued to slide down from the top of the Reid era the talent has not been there. Reid thought a great special team's coach could change that- he learned with April that is not always the case.

It's clear last season that the motivation on special teams was not there. When Brian Rolle was released it was reported that part of the reason for his departure was his attitude on special teams. If true, that speaks to how people view special team's on the "Dream Team"- they didn't think they belonged on it. Outside of Colt Anderson, the talent and effort was not there last year.

Which brings us to Fipp. Fipp very well might be the coach that get's things turned around. The fact that he is young and motivated will only help to motivate his players to try harder. That isn't to say April was not hard on his players, but April already has a reputation when he came into the league. Just like the rest of the Eagles team, April thought he was great before the players even touched the field. Fair or not, Fipp won't think that when he gets here.

At the end of the day, however, the success of the special teams will come down to talent. The Eagles need more depth before they can expect the special teams to excel. They have returners who could do something- Brandon Boykin, Damaris Johnson, DeSean Jackson- but they need better blocking. That isn't scheme. That is talent and effort.

What do you think- is special teams success due more to the coach or the players? Is that more true of the special teams coach then it is other position coaches/coordinators?

Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bleeding Green Nation

You must be a member of Bleeding Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleeding Green Nation. You should read them.

Join Bleeding Green Nation

You must be a member of Bleeding Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleeding Green Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker