Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On CB Jorrick Calvin's ability to be the kick returner this week: "He's had some opportunities and he has had some things go wrong, to some extent. I think he's still learning and getting better and improving. He's a talented guy. He has to take that experience and just capitalize on it being a learning experience - the mistakes. We are excited about the guy. We think the guy is really talented. We just have to keep nurturing him and keep helping him to get better, and he will."

On whether he thinks Calvin tries to do too much sometimes: "I think a lot of guys try to do that and I think that is a lot of their downfall. I have seen a lot of guys who have had a lot of success and then they try to do all kinds of stuff and they get worse. Instead of doing what brought the success, they try to make all kinds of different things happen. I've seen that a lot with returners. As a returner, if you look over 15 years or so, it's hard to see a lot of guys (who have sustained success). You know like (former Cowboys RB) Emmitt Smith every year was the top rusher. There are a lot of peaks and valleys with these (kick returners). (Bears WR) Devin Hester, the last two years his returns were (down), but now he's back up. It's hard to maintain that consistency; there are a lot of factors that go into it. I think certainly, to answer your question, (sometimes Calvin) tries to analyze instead of just going. That one-on-one becomes a 10-on-one really fast."

On trying to contain Hester: "Our goal every week is to limit the returner to a seven-yard average. He's no different. He is different from the standpoint that, at some point he's going to have the record, in a very short period of time, for the most (return) touchdowns ever. In that short and that brief of a career, you'd have to be considered the greatest return man ever. He'd be like (former Browns RB) Jim Brown. He had a really brief career and was the best for what he did, productively. He's a really big challenge, but we have the same goal for him as everybody. We know he is a bigger challenge than most people, but the same goals (exist). We want to do the same things every week."

On what makes Hester a special returner: "I think he's different from the standpoint of he really knows where to go with the ball. He finds that thing (quickly). He's running over here, he sees something over there. He's like Minnesota Fats. He's playing a couple shots ahead. He's a couple shots ahead of these other guys that return. You almost can see the evolution of the coverage. It's kind of hard to explain, but that's what it looks like. Plus he is extremely well-coached. Those players on that unit are extremely well-coached. They make some outstanding blocks and outstanding hold ups and some really key blocks at critical points in returns. They have a lot to do with it as well."

On Hester's breakaway speed: "He has that burner speed, and he's got running back-type strength. He breaks some tackles, too. (He has a) combination of size and speed, and he's really kind of a running back. He has receiver skills (as well). He's just a phenomenal (player). If a guy ever went into the Hall of Fame strictly on returning, he or (former Eagles RB) Brian Mitchell would have to be those guys. Who else could they be, strictly on returning? I know (former Chiefs WR) Dante Hall is up there too. This guy, though, he hasn't been out there that long, and to do what he's done is pretty amazing."

On who is the backup kickoff returner behind Calvin: "We have (WR Jeremy) Maclin and we also have (RB) Eldra Buckley."

On which of those players would be the primary backup: "Probably (head coach Andy Reid) would make that call. Last week we put Buckley in there. He's not necessarily ahead of Maclin. We also have (RB) Jerome Harrison working and doing it. Although Jerome has not ever done it, we're trying to groom him to do it because I think he could be a really good guy. It's tough to kind of groom a guy when you pick him up as late as we did. He didn't get the Spring work, he didn't get the drills, he didn't get a lot of stuff. He's a running back and certainly he can find the holes.

"The biggest thing for those guys when you're trying to groom them is make the play on the ball on a directional kick and run over to get a feel for getting back in phase with the rest of the players. To communicate the (difficult) kick, the one that isn't right to him. All those things—managing the game, managing the ball - is critical for those guys. He hasn't really been able to get that. We've gotten him some stuff in practice, but it may be a while before he would do it in a game."

On how much S Colt Anderson has helped out on special teams: "He's been unbelievable. That first game he had (five tackles). The only guy I've been around in my coaching career that had more tackles was (former Bills and current Browns LB) Blake Costanzo in a game a couple years ago. He had more tackles, six, than anybody on defense, and he only played on the coverage teams. He didn't play a defensive snap and he led the entire team in tackles with six. Colt had five. I can't remember a guy having that many. Maybe somewhere along the way. In two games, he's been tremendous. Plus, what a pickup for us. Our coverage has been good for two games. A lot of it has to do with him, but the other guys have upped their game, too. I can't say enough about Colt, in a short period of time, to go out there and block like he has. He's a really good football player, and a hungry player and a grateful player. Gratitude is probably a player's most powerful weapon and he has that."

On the fact that K David Akers will tie Brian Dawkins for the most games in Eagles history and his importance to the organization: "Most of the guys I have had have been older guys, sort of in his age range. It's a tremendous tribute to him and his talent and his work ethic to have that kind of longevity. In today's world, to have it in one place is rare. It's rare to do that. I think the organization is lucky that they've had a guy who has been productive at a critical position. I don't say it's overlooked, but sometimes (I think it is). I think he has led the team in scoring every single year he's been here. The guy who leads your team in scoring is obviously a pretty important guy. I'm sure it's been great for David too, to play in one place and be appreciated by the organization. I think it's a mutual respect."

On how difficult it is for kickers to make it in the league and have longevity: "Oh, absolutely, and they really have the process like the 'Grapes of Wrath' to get in. They've got to go through some rough roads to get in the league. Dave did too. He went to three or four teams. This is like his fourth team when he got here. It's never easy for those guys. They've got to do a lot of tough work in a tough environment. To make it that long is a real tribute to him and what he brings to the table. He is a real student of the game, and he has always kept himself in great shape, from what I understand. He certainly has since I've been around."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising