The final segment of the roster outlook series focuses on the important but oft-forgotten special teams unit. While special teams often struggled under Andy Reid and Bobby April, Chip Kelly has always emphasized the kicking and return games and views those units as big play opportunities. His innovation translates to special teams, as Oregon often used exotic formations when lining up for extra points.
Who makes the team:
Jon Dorenbos (long snapper), Alex Henery (kicker), Donnie Jones (punter)
Dorenbos and Henery are locks, and the punting job will go to either Donnie Jones or rookie free agent Brad Wing. Jones has been a slightly above average punter in the league, and while Wing has the talent to beat him out, Jones’ consistency and experience give him the early edge. Both are LSU products and were friends prior to joining the Eagles.
How the position stacks up:
The kicking game should be solid but unspectacular. Henery is very reliable inside of 40 yards but gets shaky from long range, and the Eagles have two talented punters. Coverage units should also be effective with players like Colt Anderson and Riley Cooper as high-effort anchors on special teams. The Eagles still haven’t found an electric return man, and a star kick return specialist would help elevate the special teams unit. Right now, WR Damaris Johnson is the most promising returner on the roster, but Bryce Brown, Brandon Boykin, DeSean Jackson, Arrelious Benn, and Felix Jones could all field kicks during the season.
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