Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On whether WR DeSean Jackson will be the punt returner this week if he returns: "(Head) Coach (Andy Reid) and I discussed that the other day. He wasn't really sure how he wanted to use him. He's practicing right now. He and (CB) Jorrick (Calvin) are both practicing to take them. I'll let him comment on it because he'll make the final decision."

On what makes Calvin able to handle both the kick and punt return duties: "Well, we've talked about this before, there's a slight difference in doing it. A guy should be able to do it. If he can catch the ball – if he's a kick returner and he can catch the ball, he should be able to punt return. The slight difference I don't want to go into. But Jorrick is just a talented guy. He's got running back skills. He's runs it like a running back. He goes north and south, he makes the diagonal cut at top speed and he doesn't do a lot of fancy stuff to avoid. He's more of a downhill runner. That's what gives him the ability to do the kickoff returns. His ability to catch the ball, certainly he's got to hold on to it more. That'll be his demise. He's got to hold on to the ball. In the last game he had a turnover. He's got to shore that up for himself and for the football team."

On whether CB Dimitri Patterson's role will be reduced on special teams or whether someone else will take his place now that he's been promoted to starting RCB: "No, we'll reduce his role a little bit. Well, not a little bit, we'll reduce it a lot. That's one of the consequences of having injuries. You have to bring somebody that hasn't played and you may lose a productive player. Of course it happens a lot as things go. When guys play really good on special teams they generally end up playing themselves to a starting role. The general philosophy is you reduce their role on special teams. We've got a couple guys. We've got some guys, you know, Jorrick can play gunner as well. (WR) Riley Cooper won't have as big a role now with DeSean back. (CB Trevard) Lindley will play more of a role. He's the corner that will come up on the non-dress list and he'll take most of Dimitri's stuff. You're right about Dimitri. He's been really good. He's been really, really good for us."

On whether special teams units get weakened because guys like Colts TE Jacob Tamme get promoted to a starting role: "No doubt. Tamme was a really, really good pickup for them. He's a small tight end that they picked up, I don't know, two, three years ago. Last year he was really productive. We played him when I was in Buffalo. I thought he was, as a cover guy, their best cover guy. All around, they had quite a few pretty good players, really. Yeah, they have the same deal. His role got reduced last week against Houston when (TE Dallas Clark) didn't' start and Tamme did. His role got reduced. He didn't play on the kickoff coverage. Yeah, we don't have any great disadvantage or anything like that because that's what happens."

On Colts TE Brody Eldridge rib injury and how that affects the special teams unit:"Yeah, same thing, absolutely. They've had a lot of injuries. In fact, probably their best overall guy – I might be going out on a limb because I'm just reflecting on last year – was Jamie Silva; the kid from Boston College. He was a very good player, a very good special teams player. (He) did returns, (and) covered. When you get a guy that can return really well and cover really well, you've got a really good guy. They lost him, too. That's part of the deal."

On Lindley's special teams impact earlier in the season:"He played okay. He needs to play more. This will be good for him. We don't want him making mistakes, but when a guy hasn't played much on special teams and played mostly man-to-man coverage or some things at Kentucky, he comes in here and he's asked to do a lot – block on kickoff return. You have to give him an opportunity to get better. You can't write him off initially. I think he can do much better than he did, but I'm not displeased with him. He's been a good character guy and he's tried to do what we've asked. I think he'll come through. The more he plays, the better he's going to get."

On where he feels like he is to where he wanted to be at this point in the season and whether this is typical of his first season: "Well, the ups and downs are typical because it's really tough to stay at the summit in everything all the time. I've been fortunate to have that happen a couple of times where we've been able to stay at the summit the whole season; just the whole season, in just every phase. That's rare, you know, that's rare. I was hoping and projecting that we would be better than we are right now, that we would make more of a contribution to enhancing our ability to play better on offense and defense by field position. I think there is improvement. It's gradual. It's in small increments. We have to eliminate the gaffe that comes up kind of on a weekly basis. I mean, we played pretty good against Tennessee. We probably played our best game, but we put the ball on the ground when we needed to secure the ball and give our offense at least a chance to do something. So that's our job. That's our mission to enhance the probability of offensive and defensive success. I have faith that we are going to keep moving and as these games – they're all important – as they get more and more critical because you're running out of them, that we're going to continue to improve. We're going to fight to improve. We're going to be pretty good at the end. We're going to be pretty good. Like I said, we're going to be great. I don't know if we'd make that kind of stride, but that's certainly going to be our ambition."

On the matchup between David Akers and Adam Vinatieri: "Those guys both have had great careers. You know, usually the knockdown, drag out fight comes down to the field goal of any close game. That usually decides it. But those guys are important throughout. I always tell the team, and I tell the punt team in particular, that we want our football team to believe that any drive that ends in a kick is good. It's really good when it's an extra point, it's good when it's a field goal and it's pretty darn good when it's a punt because we're going to take that and make it a greater advantage for our defensive football team. We put a high emphasis on field goals here. I mean, we put a high emphasis. I was glad when I got here and coach Reid had – we kick them year around and we put a lot into it. It means a lot to our football team to get those three points at the end of a drive. It's not only the three points that you get for the offensive football team, it's that if you don't make it, you immediately give their team better field position than they'd normally get if you had to kick off to them after the three points. Generally, they'll average starting around the 33 (yard line), where the average starting point after a kickoff for us is the 26 (yard line). So we lose three points and they gain seven yards. Not a good deal, so we want to make that play. It's mostly Dave, but it takes everybody to kick it."

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