Who exactly is on the Eagles Special Teams (and where)? (2014)

Posted on September 15, 2014

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This is the 2014 version of a post from last year where I noted:

Just about all of my readers can probably name the left guard on Eagles offensive plays, but who lines up there on punts? Sure you can name the return man, but who are the other 10 Eagles on the field for kickoffs? Team depth charts don’t even list entire special teams units.

Without further ado:

Standard Kickoff Return:

KR 1

Note: After Najee Goode got hurt, Trey Burton replaced him on this unit.

Standard Kickoff Coverage:

Kickoff 1

Note: Casey Matthews replaced replaced Goode after his injury.

Insight: For both kickoff coverage and kickoff returns, no matter which direction the Eagles were facing that quarter, the players did not flip sides. In other words, a player on the kicker’s left side in the first quarter will be on the kicker’s right side in the second quarter. If you’re near the Eagles sideline in quarter one, you still line up near the Eagles sideline in quarter two. And Parkey kicked from the far set of hashes every time.

[Update (9/18): The following week, Parkey did switch hashes (always kicking from the hash to his left). And the coverage players rotated. So my new assumption is that they did not rotate in the Jaguars game because Parkey did not rotate, and rather than left or right gunners, they have “field-side” and “boundary-side” players. For example, Bryan Braman always lined up to the short side of the field. Now I remain curious as to how it is decided which hash Parley will kick from.]

I assume this is typical, as the Jaguars did the same. I had never noticed before, and I’m curious what the reason is. It is not done that way on punts.

Punt:

Punt 1

Note: Burton replaced Goode.

Punt Return:

PR 1

Note: Again Burton replaced Goode.

Field Goal / PAT Kick:

Place Kick

Note: This unit may have changed significantly from its intended group of players. Lane Johnson is suspended, and Evan Mathis and Allen Barbre were both hurt before the Eagles first FG/XP kick. All three of these players were on the PK unit last year. My guess is that Mathis would be where Jason Kelce is , Johnson where Andrew Gardner is, and Allen Barbre where David Molk is.

Insight: Assuming Kelce was indeed filling for Mathis, notice how the Eagle have offensive right guard Todd Herremans on the Long Snapper’s left side here, and Mathis, the right guard on offense, would’ve been to the long snapper’s right. The Eagles did this last year, too, as do plenty of other teams. Again, I’m curious why.

Also note that Jason Peters is not on this unit. I suspect they see him as too valuable for Special Teams? Ironic given that he entered the league as a Special Teamer.

Field Goal / PAT Defense:

PK Defense 1a

Note: This picture has Demeco Ryans in it, but Goode was in that spot earlier in the game.

Conclusion:

In all, the Eagles used three players (Trey Burton, Casey Matthews, Demeco Ryans) to replace Najee Goode after Goode got hurt. And I remain curious why players don’t rotate sides on kickoffs and why the offensive guards switch sides when protecting on place kicks.

More posts coming soon. Follow Allen Rodriguez on Twitter.

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Posted in: Eagles