Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On whether the onsides kick was set up by design: "It's certainly a deceptive move, that's for sure. We kind of got that from (LS Jon) Dorenbos where if we got your attention over here we can pull a quarter out of your ear over here. Anything that's of a deceptive nature we can't divulge our strategy. It wasn't my idea if it was even intended, but since we have everyone in suspense we certainly weren't looking over their shoulder at everything we do."

On whether S Kurt Coleman will still play a primary role on special teams: "Our fundamental belief as an organization is we try to use guys as little as possible when they're playing those 65-or-so other plays. We'll reduce his deal. He's been a critical factor for us on the punt team and he calls the signals and he manages the protections and everything else. He'll continue to do that, but we'll replace him on the other units."

On whether anything transfers from special teams to a base defense for Coleman: "One thing, he's a real smart guy; a very intelligent football player. He sees things and can immediately communicate those things. Of course he did it at Ohio State, so he had some good training as a punt returner. He did a lot of things for us. He made a lot of the calls if we had automatics on things and we did a lot of adjustable things with him in our punt return game. Possession is our number one priority on the punt return team and that includes stopping the fake. Kurt put us in a lot of situations where we moved him in and out and did some things with him. He was an intracal part of what we did, but we have other guys that know what they're doing and can do the same thing. To answer your question, he's a bright guy, he understands it, he can communicate it well and I think playing in there at safety for our defense, for a rookie, he'll be able to manage all the automatic fronts and adjustments that they have to make."

On whether he's been around a player like K David Akers who takes the same approach at executing an onsides kick as he does to a regular kickoff: "That's a great thing to bring up because I was talking about the deception of the play and real ingredient of deception is you can't tell when David's kicking that. Most people have to take some type of different path to put the ball that far laterally or to come down and strike it at that angle. He looks like he's kicking off so you don't really know. I think now, I could be wrong, somebody told me that (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid has the highest percentage of onsides kick recoveries of anybody in football. That's pretty good especially when you've been at it as long as he has. They have been really successful here in the past with David kicking that same kick and people don't always play for it. Sometimes they don't play for it even when there's a good chance we can kick it. Coach is bold enough to call it."

On Akers being in Philadelphia for as long as he has compared to other teams who constantly go through kickers: "No doubt about it. They go through kickers like crazy. Sometimes it's a real problem where you never get it solved. You're always looking for a guy. That's a real blessing here that they've been able to stay. It's been great for Dave too, I'm sure. (Former Eagles kicker) Norm Johnson was a great mentor, I'm sure, for David. I coached him in two different places. He was a real pro, so that probably helped David as well."

On whether S Jamar Wall will take Coleman's spot on special teams coverage: "Jamar Wall will take almost everything Kurt did, yeah. We're high on Jamar. We saw him on film, we liked him and he can even do some returning for us. We think, well, not so fast on that. He can do some returning. We had him rated fairly good as a returner, we liked him."

On losing special teams players late in the season because of injuries to starting players: "Yeah, that's a tough chore, but it comes along with the territory. That's part of the deal, that's part of the challenge and part of the beauty of it. Every day is really a challenge of trying to get – everybody. (LB) Jamar Chaney and anybody we lose like that, obviously we've tried to groom them for a long time. It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's really part of what you have to do and what you have to take on, and know you have to take it on. Yeah, it would be a lot better if you had continuity throughout because that same guy has a better feel than working in a new guy. For Jamar it's going to be like preseason and it's not. Obviously it's not."

On whether he has ever seen better blocks than the ones WR Jason Avant and LB Omar Gaither threw on WR DeSean Jacksons game-winning punt return last Sunday: "I don't think so. There are some good, timely blocks, but, boy, Omar, we call that bowling for dollars, man. He took three guys out. That was unbelievable timing on it too because he hit the guy right at the perfect time to cause that three car accident. And then Avant's – (Giants LS) Zak DeOssie is a pretty big guy, so those two running at absolute top speed, it was a heck of a collision. I know Jason laid on the field for a while. Zak, I don't know if it was because of the hit or because of the agony of seeing (Jackson) go down the field. What an unbelievable play. I was shocked, really, it was so fantastic."

On how long the process goes on for when looking for a flag before he can start celebrating: "It probably went on a little longer for me because I was scanning every inch of that field making sure nothing had happened because it can happen to you. Boy, that would've really hurt. Not only to have the thing go into overtime, but eliminate what is and will be one of the great plays that I've ever seen. I was kind of looking around for a long time. Usually I just scan it once, but on this one I didn't celebrate really for almost until we got our PAT team out there."

On whether there was a possibility that having 10 men on the field for the onsides kick was not intentional: "(Jokingly) There's a possibility, absolutely."

On the keys to the onsides kick: "I think Coach Reid, you know, it's been all his stuff and he has a knack for coming up with something that is at the right time at the right moment and he obviously has a knack for it on when to call it and what to do to put us in a situation to have the right guys and to use the right people. We practice it every week and the right guys that can execute it, that can block it properly, that can time it up; like (WR) Riley Cooper. He's practiced that a lot. We had (WR) Hank Baskett, you know, Hank Baskett practiced it a lot. Of course he's not here, he's with the other team. They kick that thing to that side, but it's too late. They already see it on film. I think Dave is the key guy.

"He can execute it because he's kicked that thing now – the first one to Riley. Over those 18 kicks, yes, there probably have been five, six different guys that have recovered it. I'm guessing. I don't know that, but over a 12-year span, that's probably a conservative number. He's the key in Coach Reid's ability to call that thing at the right time and to make sure it's been looked at and it's prepared for. Usually we spend every tape looking at it because we know he's going to ask about. I know he's well going for it. I know before I even came here, if you're going to play the Eagles, you have to be ready for that play."

On whether last Sunday's game was Gaither's best on special teams: "You know he had a real good game because he blocked a little bit better on some of the other stuff, too. Omar has been a real leader for us. There's a real talent in this profession of not going in the tank, of not getting in the dumps. When Omar got sat down and wasn't going to dress and was told that early in the week, he could have went in the tank, but there's a talent to not go into the tank. He was the first guy out on the field. I asked him and said, 'what are you going to do today now? How are you going to practice?' He goes, 'I always practice.' I said, 'you've been a real leader out here and you've been full of enthusiasm. How are you going to practice today?' He said, 'I always practice.'

"And that week that he didn't play, he didn't dress, I think, you know, he was a real inspiration to teach these younger guys what it's like to be a pro. What it's like to really be a pro. Come here and do the job you're blessed to have and quit looking at all the negative stuff and do something. You're paid well, you're probably in the greatest profession in the world. He exemplified that. He's been a real treat. He always, like everybody, has to get better at certain things. Yeah, his example to those guys about what you do when you're down, you come back fighting even harder. You come out of that corner, if you lost that last round, you come out of that corner with more determination and he did that. I think a lot of the guy."

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