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Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On what he saw from KR/CB Gerard Lawson last week:"Yeah, he did a good job. Again, we could get better blocking, although he pushed the ball up to the 26 and the 32 or so. He basically averaged 24 yards. Yeah, I thought he did a good job. We could have gotten better blocking. We did get up. The guy that made both tackles was a kicker. Their kicker is a little different than most kickers. He's really a defensive player, so he comes down there in the hole and maybe should have had a scheme where we had him blocked, but it would have put a lot of moving parts in what we normally do. I thought he did a good job. He played tough and he played tough on the coverage. He's what we expected. He's a tough guy, he's a hungry guy and that makes a lot of difference."

On whether it's hard for him to come in and quickly learn the schemes: "Yeah, I think it's real hard. Fortunately, he has been playing. It's not like he's been off all season. He'd been playing in the UFL, so he's accustomed to the game. Learning and knowing exactly what we wanted was a tough deal. We had another young man, (S) Jamar Adams, who we found out Friday was going to dress and play. It was even tougher on him. He didn't even have a chance to practice. There were a lot of situations like that, but they come up and they come up particularly in the situation we were in where we were resting certain guys and didn't even dress certain guys. Some guys came in and did a good job, really. They played as hard as they could and played as tough as they could and did well, really."

On whether the new overtime rule affects how he prepares on special teams: "I don't think so. Certainly there are a lot of things that can come in with the head coach's decision on how to use that. Would someone want to risk an onsides kick so they can get position and take the other team out of any opportunity. That's a possibility. I would say if you have a really good redzone defense, I mean a really good redzone defense, it would be to your greatest advantage because you could try the onsides kick and even if you don't get it and the defense is really good, you could hold them to three (points). You still have another chance to get the ball, if you get the ball. So, there's a lot into that. For special teams per say, we're always ready for the onsides kick – or we should be – and we're always ready to execute it. It's just a matter of strategy-wise, we always have that stuff ready anyway. That would be (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid's decision."

On K David Akers' season and production:"Well, he was one point and one field goal away from his best year ever. He was real close to having tied the best production year kicking he's ever had. I think he's had four or five more – maybe four – touchbacks that he's ever had. He had a real quality year. The one miss he had, at least recently, was a shot we really took right before the half. We were able to get the ball sort of in range and he was kicking into the wind. He certainly has a good enough leg to kick a 54-yarder, but on that particular night that was a tough kick. You needed a big leg to get it through the goal, through the wind and get it through. I mean, I think he's had a really good year. I think he's done a very good job for us. We had a lot of close games and he's kicked field goals in those games. He always has been the top point leader. I've said that before. Whoever has the most points on your team is a valuable commodity no matter how you get them. What he does is not easy."

On whether Lawson can do both kick and punt returns:"He's not going to be the punt returner. Coach would make that decision, but I would expect it would be (WR) DeSean Jackson. He hasn't told me yet how exactly he wants to use him. I thought (WR) Chad Hall did a good job. He misplaced one. The wind picked up as that game went on and maybe we could've moved him back. Maybe as coaches we could've had him back a little bit more, but he kind of came up on a little bit of an angle and came back and then when he felt like he had to reach for it, he let it go. That could have been done better, that would have been beneficial to our probability of winning the game, but so is every play. I thought he did well and I thought he knocked the ball up the field pretty good. We had a hold on one and eliminated some of his return yards and we've had problems with penalties, really. We still have some things to correct, but we have to do better at that."

On whether Jackson is the punt returner for the entire game, or just down the stretch:"Well, you always need (a punt returner). I don't know. I'd let coach answer that question when you guys visit with him. We work them all. All those guys get back there and catch punts. (WR Jeremy) Maclin, who hasn't done very much, but he's back there three days a week catching punts; Hall's back there. They're all back there catching them, they all execute what we're going to do at practice. Again, that's coach's call."

On why Maclin has not had any punt return opportunities despite his success as a punt returner in college: "That's a good question because I thought he was. I thought he was the most outstanding returner when he came out of college in all of football. He was tremendous. He hasn't had a lot of opportunities here. Of course, DeSean Jackson has been here and DeSean has kept his chances of getting them. When he has returned, this year he has only been back there a couple of times, when he has, he's caught the ball. He's gotten whatever he could. I have no complaints about how he plays. I think he could be a really good returner. I think more because there are some other guys and when you have some guys that you think can do it fairly well, what he means to the offense, you want to partial that stuff out to where you have him for the full ride. I think that's it more than anything. It's not that he hasn't done well and this year he really hasn't had a chance to get enough carries to do well. Is he a good returner? Yes. Does he work on it? Yes. Why he hasn't played more? More because of DeSean and more of because we thought we had guys that can do a quality job."

On whether he feels that he has to settle guys down for a playoff game compared to the regular season: "I'm not really sure about that. I never have in the past, but I think it could be a little too wired at times because these are big games and there's a lot of pressure and there are a lot of guys that get tired early, believe it or not. They go out there the first series and they're exhausted because they've used up so much of their energy because of being nervous and being wired up. I've said we've been poor with penalties, we've been good with those kinds of penalties. We don't have that many blocks in the back or holds – although we had one the other night. So many of our penalties have just been things that, you know, I should have prevented or whatever. The lining up on the center this late in the season, the stepping out of bounds and then touching the ball first, being offsides on the kickoff coverage. We've sort of experienced penalties. Yeah, I think you've got a good point, but I just never coached that because I usually want them as wired as possible no matter what game it is. That's how they get it done, that's how they make plays on special teams. There's too much space not to be urgent."

On CB Brandon Hughes and Adams' performances last week and whether they will play on special teams: "Yeah, Brandon Hughes and Adams both did well. They did a nice job. Both of them are tough guys, they're big, they're fast and they can run. They may not dress this week. They dressed because (QB) Michael Vick didn't dress, you know, that type of thing. Those kinds of guys do a good job for us on special teams. They're hungry, they're really hungry. That's really what you need. The skill is so close especially when most of the special teams are filled with the bottom part of the roster. That talent level on special teams is close. You get the returners that make a difference. There's a big space maybe in the talent level, but for the most part it's fairly close. The guys that are really hungry, enthused and plays with fervor, they're usually the best players."

On Akers kicking the ball deeper than ever:"I've only been around him a year, so I don't know what he's done prior to this. I do know the regimen that he kept during through the offseason and the one he keeps during the season. Most of the guys I've been around, you know, guys that have played a long time when you think they really kind of shouldn't. They keep themselves in excellent condition year round. I mean, Dave – not just the running and the explosion, but the nutrition, the stretching, everything. That's the only way I can answer it. He's got a real grasp of the game anyway. You would think, certainly, his body would diminish at least at that age, at 36, that he wouldn't be as powerful kicking the ball. I don't really have an answer except for his work ethic and what he does throughout the year to maintain that level, but he's kind of exceeded it. I don't know, I really don't."

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