Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams: A Work In Progress

The role of Michael Vick on this football team even raised questions for special teams coordinator Ted Daisher.

"I don't question that he has the ability to do it," Daisher said. "Anybody that is that good of an athlete, you can always find things to do. But that's (head coach) Andy's (Reid) decision. He'll decide what his role is here."

Daisher said he doesn't know if Vick has ever done anything on special teams during his football career.

In terms of X's and O's ...

For openers, special teams offered a mixed bag of results in Thursday's preseason game against the Patriots.

David Akers connected on four field goals, had one blocked and pushed the potential game-winner wide left. Rookie Jeremy Maclin muffed his first punt return opportunity, but later demonstrated his breakaway ability on another 21-yard punt return. He also averaged 25 yards on four kickoff returns. Then there was New England return man Julian Edelman's 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.

"It is a total and complete work in progress," Daisher said. "We're trying to determine what players can be a part of our team and help us. In doing that, sometimes it's not always as pretty as you'd like it to be. It is definitely a work-in-progress."

Edelman's return, Daisher said, was more a problem of positioning than it was tackling.

"We had a good punt. The punt was near the sideline," Daisher said. "We didn't use the sideline and guide him out of bounds. We let him get back and get vertical. When that happened, we didn't react the way we should. we have to get a lot better in that."

With the exception of Edelman's return, the coverage teams did a pretty good job. New England averaged a mere 18.9 yards on seven kick return opportunities. The Eagles, meanwhile, averaged 25.6 yards on five kickoff returns and 11.3 yards on three punt returns. Danny Amendola chipped in one of each, with a 28-yard kick return and a 13-yard punt return. But Maclin saw most of the reps in the return game.

Daisher said Maclin overcame some early mistakes and got better as the game went on.

"I would like to see him make a little better decisions in fielding the ball," Daisher said. "I know that he got his eyes up and looked at the coverage on the first one (punt return), and that's what caused him to fumble the ball. As the game went on I think he got a little bit better. I think he got a little more comfortable."

Daisher previously said in training camp that Quintin Demps and DeSean Jackson are favorites to reprise their roles as the featured returners in 2009. But with both second-year players expected to shoulder more of a workload on offense and defense, he is keeping his options open and auditioning other candidates. In fact, Daisher says veteran returner Ellis Hobbs will likely get a chance to showcase his wares soon as well.

"I anticipate that taking place here in the next couple of weeks," Daisher said.

Finalizing his personnel is still a ways off as player evaluations continue. Until then, he will be shuttling people in and out, trying to find the right mix for his coverage and return teams.

"I'm totally and completely at the mercy of (the final 53-man roster)," Daisher said. "You need to find out who can help the team. That's what the preseason is all about. You have to put people in positions and just see how they react. Sometimes they're going to react well and sometimes they're not. But you need to find that out in August as opposed to September. That's what we're in the process of doing.

"Decisions have to be made. We will identify some guys that can help our football team and then we'll go from there."

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