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Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On how big of a loss injured WR/KR Dez Bryant is for the Cowboys:"Well, that's a big loss for them. I mean, that's a super talented guy. You know, he only had 15 returns or whatever, but he returned two of them. So anytime you have two returns in 15 tries that's pretty good. And he was getting better, of course he's good anyway, but he was getting better and more reps at the kick return too. For them that's a big loss of talent. I mean, that's a big loss of talent. He was an outstanding player and a great player, a great returner out of Oklahoma State and you know didn't get a chance to play much of his senior year, and then is injured now. So he's running on some tough luck. But he's super, super talented. I mean, as talented as it gets, I think."

On who will replace Bryant on special teams: "Well, I think (CB Bryan) McCann, the rookie who's done a really good job too. I think he'll do both. You know, (CB) Terence Newman has done some returning in the past. But I don't know if they'd go with him. The kid (WR Jesse Holley) has been back there. The other young man who's on IR now, I can never pronounce his name, (S Akwasi Owusu-Ansah). That's the only guys they've really had. So I would think it almost has to be McCann. If not, it would be Terence Newman. But I don't know if where he's at in his career if they would have him do that kind of stuff."

On Cowboys K David Buehler having a phenomenal touchback rate in Cowboys Stadium: "Yeah, he kicks a lot better in Cowboys Stadium than he does – he kicks off better. He kicks off for greater distance. I'm not sure why that's the case outside of common sense that they're indoors and the conditions are better. But he still has quite a few touchbacks. It's not as high as it was a year ago, but it's still way up there. And I would think he would have a similar type game if they scored enough points, you know, he would get his fair share of touchbacks because he does kickoff particularly well in that stadium and particularly well in a certain direction. So I'm not sure why, but he definitely has that tendency."

On whether he has seen a steady progression from the rookies on special teams this season:"I think so. I think they've come a long way. Most rookies don't play real well on special teams. Even if they've been really good players, they could be first-round draft picks, they just for whatever reason don't play that well on special teams. But I think they've played well and I think they're getting better and better and better all the time, which is good because that's our philosophy; we want to try whatever we do to take a step forward to keep getting better, keep getting better, climb a ladder, take a little hill each day, and I think it's a real tribute to those guys that they've played well and played well together because there are a lot of new guys. And then (S) Colt (Anderson), you know Colt, has really added to the equation, there, because he's come in and made a lot of plays. I mean, in the short time he's been here he's made some big plays and that's certainly helped us. So that was a real good job by (general manager) Howie (Roseman) and the personnel people to know about him and then to know right when to go get him."

On whether he has ever had a player like Anderson step onto special teams in the middle of the season and make such an impact: "You know, pretty close. There was a guy (former Atlanta LB) Charles Washington in Atlanta one year. However, Charles had been a veteran special teams player and came right in day one and didn't miss a beat. This guy had never played in a regular game until he played here. So (I've) never had a rookie, basically a rookie, I know he was on the practice squad, but a guy that had never played in a NFL game come in and impact it like that. No."

On whether it is easy to fit in on special teams for a new player: "You know, I think most of the stuff is conceptual and the techniques and the concepts of doing things. The schemes may vary somewhat on the kickoff return and there's a lot of timing and there's a lot of things involved in getting that synchronized right. But mostly the coverage and that type of thing is concepts because, you know, the ball is never set in play at the same spot or at a static spot. I mean, the thing is constantly in motion and you never know where the play's going to start and at what time the play's going to start because the hang time, and the location, and everything's different, so all those variables change for the coverage players, as well. They have to adapt and adjust to different things. So the coverage team, you know if a guy can cover, it doesn't matter what team he plays for, he can cover. And getting off a block is conceptual and technique too. So on the punt team, getting off the block and going down the field covering, that kind of stuff really doesn't matter that much. There are some scheme involvements particularly on the punt and the kickoff return where you have to be linked with the other guy. But a lot of the other stuff is like baseball, you have to know how to play your position and you have to know how to field a grounder if you're a shortstop, get a beat on the ball if you're an outfielder, and it doesn't really matter that much about what the catcher's doing. That's a lot of football on special teams because of the width and the depth and everything of the ball and there are so many variables that can happen."

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