The Philadelphia Eagles are working to find new leaders on offense and defense, if they don’t have them already. But the Eagles also need a lot of help on special teams, which was either non-existent or crippling this past season. To that end, Philadelphia is turning to Miami Dolphins assistant special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, according to the Palm Beach Post on Jan. 23.
Ben Volin tweeted that Fipp would become the Eagles’ new special teams coordinator, although the team hasn’t said anything to that effect. However, Comcast SportsNet’s Geoff Mosher tweeted a picture of Fipp wearing an Eagles hoodie during Senior Bowl practice, which may say it all.
The Eagles seem determined not to make any official announcements about their staff until it is completely filled. Yet with Fipp’s apparent hire and the likely hiring of Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator, it isn’t like Philadelphia is keeping a tight lid on its process.
The rumors/pictures about Fipp provide time to compare his Dolphins’ special team unit with the Eagles. The comparison certainly isn’t favorable for Philadelphia, as it finished near the bottom of the NFL in punt and kickoff returns. Meanwhile, the Dolphins were the third-best team in the league on kick return, while finishing sixth in punts.
Of course, the Dolphins’ offense then had to take advantage of its good field position, which it didn’t always do. Miami finished below .500 at 7-9, although that is far better than Philadelphia’s 4-12 record. The Eagles had problems scoring no matter what their starting field position was, yet it could have been far better and made the offense’s job a little easier.
DeSean Jackson used to be a big weapon as a kick returner, but he has become a non-existent and less reliable option -- and not just as a returner. As such, to either make Jackson dangerous again or find another star returner, the Eagles needed someone with a good track record to lead the way.
Fipp was only an assistant to Miami’s special teams, so this is a step up in responsibility for him. Yet head coach Chip Kelly is taking an even bigger step up from college, which means Fipp is hardly the biggest gamble on the Eagles’ staff. If this one works, however, then it may make it a little easier for the other gambles to work as well.