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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Eagles send fullback packing

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

The Eagles showed Wednesday why you never take a fullback in the third round of the NFL draft. Tony Hunt, the Eagles 2007 pick, played in an offense at Penn State that didn't resemble the Eagles' and he wasn't a great blocker or receiver.

It usually takes a team a couple of years to give up on a third-round pick, but the Eagles didn't wait that long. Hunt didn't give them enough on offense or special teams to warrant sticking around.

The Eagles have brought in special teams ace Tracy White to replace Hunt. He's had 68 special teams tackles in 69 career games, which sounds pretty good to me. And what's up with the special teams in this division? The Eagles have struggled in special teams the last few years and the Cowboys have been awful this season under Bruce Read.

I had a longtime NFL coach call me Tuesday to say that Read is taking too much blame for Sunday's two special teams failures. The theory is that special teams always suffer under Wade Phillips because he doesn't place enough emphasis on them.

After Sunday's loss, he said the team "doubled" its efforts in special teams last week. Honestly, you shouldn't have to double your efforts at any point in the season in that department. You should already be spending a ton of time on special teams. Dallas Morning News NFL columnist Rick Gosselin is one of the most respected special teams experts in the league. Teams anxiously await his special teams rankings the week after the Super Bowl.

Gosselin said Wednesday that there are five special teams coaches in the NFL who can actually be considered "difference-makers." He doesn't list Read among those five.

And if Phillips gets fired after this season, one of the biggest reasons will be the team's failures on special teams.