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ST Coordinator Bobby April

Posted Sep 27, 2012

On his thoughts of a punt returner fielding a punted ball inside the 10 yard line: “Well he’s supposed to stand at the eight (yard line) and then any drift back he’s got to make a play to keep the other team from downing the ball. Obviously it’s something we’ve got to improve on. (WR/PR Damaris Johnson) has done it a couple of times and we just have to improve on it.”

On why he thinks Johnson is fielding punts so close to the goal line: “He’s just losing awareness of where he’s at. A lot of times what happens (is) those guys, they don’t make that decision, or while they’re playing the ball they are drifting back losing consciousness of everything except the ball because obviously they’ve got to make that catch. I think that’s what’s happening. He’s just kind of losing awareness of where he’s at. He shouldn’t or you wouldn’t think he would but he has. We have to correct it. Sometimes those things depending on the punt, and that was a longer punt and one that had turned over, you definitely might want to let that one go in even if you’re going to catch it at the ten (yard line) because it’s going to hit and go into (the end zone). There’s others that the shorter punt (or) the Aussie punt that goes backwards it might be better to catch them at the five (yard line) because they might have a chance to down it. But we’re getting philosophical now but he’s got to just judge the ball where he’s at a little bit better.”

On what led to the decision to change punters: “Well I think it was a constant evaluation from the time we got (P) Mat (McBriar). They competed in camp. We’re constantly evaluating them. You guys were constantly evaluating them because (those were) the questions the past couple weeks. It was always let’s see what we have and I think it finally came down to, because (P) Chas (Henry) is a good punter, most guys take a few years to even get going in this league so he’s got a head start on that. But I think looking down that long corridor of a season we thought we could get more consistency and kind of know exactly where we’re at with each punt from McBriar. We thought also him having approximately a month, because when we got him he had just started rehab and I’m not sure the exact timing of it but he hadn’t been punting very long, and now this separated him a month out from his rehab. We worked him out. We thought he did well, we thought he was better health-wise and made the call.”

On whether he is concerned about how a new holder will affect the field goal kicking: “Well it is a different mechanism when you have a different part in there. (K) Alex (Henery) can adapt and adjust pretty good. I think whoever his holder is, he’s fine with. I think it’s a little bit troublesome when you have two holders. You’re going from one to the other, back and forth on a daily or sometimes drill basis. That probably would be more of a problem for him than getting adapted and adjusted to just the way Mat holds.”

On whether he thinks LS Jon Dorenbos will play this Sunday: “I think he will. We’ll just have to make a smart decision on how much his ankle can withstand. That’ll be up to the trainers because there is more than just snapping. He’s going to have to take people on, he’s going to have to brace, and he’s going to have to bur up against the rush, so he’s got to be more than just able to stand out there.”

On how new LS Kyle Nelson looks in practice: “He did good. We worked him out before. We liked him, thought about signing him to the practice squad as a tight end and snapper. We liked him and knew about him before and we signed him right way when Jon got hurt. He’s still got practice squad eligibility right now. Obviously things could change depending on Jon’s status.”

On whether it is okay that Johnson fields punts near the goal line: “No, we don’t want him to do it and he’s drifting back about three yards more than he should.”

On whether anyone on the special teams unit can inform Johnson if he is close to the goal line: “No. He stands at one point and if he goes back from that point he then needs to come out of that drifting back and find a way to keep whoever is closest to the ball on the other team from downing it. Either blocking them or faking them out like he’s catching it, he’s got a couple of options. He’s a smaller guy but he’s created a couple of touchbacks too. He’s created a few himself by faking or blocking a guy. We’ve gotten a few touchbacks that he’s done a good job on. Especially the one, and that wasn’t a plus-50 punt that was sort of a long ball hit, and he actually went back and was in front of the eight on that and he drifted back. But I know what you’re talking about, we don’t want him catching that at the five (yard line). We want to do everything we can to keep our offense from huddling in the end zone. We don’t want them downing it either at the one.”

On whether Johnson is getting enough blocking once he fields punts: “I think what happens sometimes is if the punter hangs the ball up well enough, he can take the punt returner out of the game. We’ve been trying a lot of different things to try to offset them but we haven’t been able to quite do it. The punters have done a really good job and I just think they’ve done a good job. We’ve tried pressuring them to get them out of it. I think his blocking is adequate. I don’t think it is necessarily good but I don’t think it’s terrible. He’s caught the ball when people have closed on him pretty good but that’s more a result of the hang time than it is a result of us being bad. It’s tough to take that away.”

On whether there is a temptation to make WR DeSean Jackson a returner again: “Not at this point.”

On why there is no intention to make Jackson a returner again:
“Well we made a decision (and) we think Damaris is good. He’s made a couple mistakes but we’ve already paid for those so we paid our tuition, we got our education, and I think he’s going to be good. I think he’s going to be fine. Can we afford for him to continue making the same mistakes? Of course not. But his fumble was really a lack of ball security on his part. A guy just reached in so it’s something we certainly have to address. It’s not like it was a jarring hit or the timing of it came that he couldn’t hold on. We work on the ball security but obviously we have to work on it more.”

On whether Jackson’s role in the offense is the reason he is not going to be the primary punt returner: “It’s more because we think Damaris is going to do a good job back there and he’s going to get the ball and he’s going to get up the field. We think he’s a good returner.”

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