Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April



On what factors help players contribute successfully on special teams: "Once you're at a certain level, you have to have ability obviously to get to this level, and you have to have certain qualifications to play in this game physically. Once you're in, I think attitude is everything –offense, defense, and I think particularly special teams. I've mentioned this before that there are obstacles to overcome in having the incentive to play in that area. It really takes a tough, young scrapper and really competitive and team guy to play well. I don't think that is the reason that we're playing poorly, but I think there have been some missteps in training them and maybe motivating them. Definitely your mental talent and toughness attributes to most of your success in this deal."

On the team's kickoff coverage against the New York Giants: "Obviously it was very poor. It looked poorly conceived, poorly coached, and poorly executed. I'm responsible for all of those. I have to draw on all of the resources that I have as a coach and put them into play, and then resurrect us from these ashes."

On the drop-off in talent from a special teams prospective with injuries to S Colt Anderson and LB Akeem Jordan: "Certainly those guys are good players and they make most of our plays, but there should not be. Those guys are obviously, if they are dressed, going to be on those units. They would replace at least two players. That's not the reason we did poorly. I think, in that instance, we were poorly prepared and I have to take responsibility for it. I have to do a better job."

On whether it is individual breakdowns or the scheme that has been causing problems: "Not really, no. The kickoff scheme is – you can trick them and you can fool them. Pretty much where I say I needed to do a better job is more than a reflection of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday practices and then Saturday's review. It's more long term. No matter what scheme you use, it ultimately comes down to when the bell rings and one guy comes out of one corner and one guy comes out of the other corner. The guy who is more prepared and more technically savvy is going to win. I don't think if we would have kicked it a little more left or kicked it a little more right, should we elude this guy - all of those give you a greater probability. At times, those things don't always work either. I just think that the preparation and long term preparation - I misjudged some things and need to do a better job of preparing the guys to whoop a guy when the bell rings."

On whether he had concerns about the kickoff coverage unit going into the game: "I go into every game, whether we are playing good or not, concerned about making sure we get everything done. Up until the game is over, I'm talking to the guys or doing whatever we can do to make something better. I wasn't any more concerned against the Giants than I was against Cleveland or anybody else, although I will say the Giants are very good in that area and a lot of areas. So is (Cleveland returner Josh) Cribbs. Any more concern last week than this week? You're always generally concerned regardless of who the opponent is."

On his discussion with head coach Andy Reid on Monday about the overall state of special teams: "We looked at the best way to maximize our play. He could've been (mad). Maybe he should've been. He's trying to find the best way for us to play football. He does not have any pet areas. Whatever he can do as a head coach to help the situation. Would he have a right to be ticked off? Absolutely. The tone or whatever was not anything but a conversation about what ways we can improve."

On whether he is concerned about K Alex Henery's hangtime and distance on kickoffs: "I think, last week in particular, I didn't do the right thing in training him. He was off a little bit in his steps and he didn't do as many full length kickoffs as he normally does. He is still delegated the responsibility of going to kick the ball well. He's not getting the pass on this persay. We did so many field goals last week because we had a new snapper and a new holder, I really wanted his leg to be as spry as it could be for game day. We cut back a little bit on his kickoffs, and it's like anything else where – if a guy is a free throw shooter, he still practices a lot of free throws – you have to do it over and over. That was a miscalculation on my part."

On whether WR Damaris Johnson will still remain the punt returner: "Yeah, absolutely. I thought he did a great job last week. We had two touchbacks, and usually (a punt returner) doesn't have any touchbacks. He got one that he caught at the seven, and he could've fair caught it, but he got it to the 10. Then, the other one was shanked. I don't know what else he could have done better than that. I guess he could have gotten the one he brought the one he caught at the seven out for more yardage. Anytime you do this, I know I've said you shouldn't catch it at the eight, but when you catch it at the eight for an eight-yard return, you've increased your field position by 100 percent. Those aren't just cooked up numbers – you start at the eight and you start at the 16. Would I rather it at the 20? I guess that one could be debatable."

On whether P Mat McBriar needed time to adjust and whether that was the reason for almost having a punt blocked: "The reason it almost got blocked was the one of our guys, who is a very good punt protection guy and with the way he plays his position could be better than anyone in the league, really did not do a great job at securing that block. There were a couple of pressures. I think he could get it out faster for sure, but I think the pressure that you saw was more the direct result was not solidly blocking the guy and not using the correct body position when striking than it was on Mat."

On what LB Adrian Moten brings to the special teams unit: "He's definitely a tough, young scrapper. He looks like one of those guys in Rocky III when Rocky comes in all Dapper Dan and the guys drop their gloves from punching the bag and they're stripped down, ready to rumble. He's kind of got that attitude. It's always good to have a tough, young scrapper on the roster. I think he has that. Our personnel department does a great job there and they are on top of everything. They thought he was the best guy available. They liked him and I liked him, so I think it will parlay into some good plays for us."

On the release of LB Brian Rolle: "You don't want too much security in this particular profession. At least from my vantage point, too much security hinders your ability to improve. No one should have a whole lot of security. Everybody is judged from week to week, and every decision is made to improve the football team. I think, as an organization, we felt that we had a guy who we released that in hindsight would play better ball than a guy that we kept. I think that was the reason. If coach had another reason other than that, I am unaware of it."

On whether he thinks there is success to be had when icing a kicker: "Icing the kicker is like trick plays or fakes – you're brilliant if they work and you're something else if they don't. That's all I can say because that's my experience. Did you think the onsides kick by the Saints was a good move? It was a brilliant move. If it didn't work, it was a similar situation. That is one of those where a coach is in a tough spot. If the kid had made it as opposed to not making it, everybody's attitude about icing the kicker would have been different. Before that, you don't know. Only one person knows that one. You can criticize it, I guess, but I don't know how you can criticize that one. I think it's a good call. It's been used because, again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. You don't know."

On whether he anticipates any personnel changes coming on any of the units: "The thing with starters playing on there, and I'll repeat this, is that the head coach really has no pet area. He has to win this game and it doesn't matter how you do it. The best way to win the game is to utilize the talent that you have to the utmost of your ability. I'll give you an example – we have had (CB) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing on the punt return team and he does a very good job. We replaced him on that unit not because of anything except generally, with the guys he covers, he has to run a bunch of nine routes over and over again.

"When he comes into that play, he's usually depleted enough that a fresher (CB) Brandon Boykin or (CB) Curtis Marsh could, with the tenacity and vigor and everything, do a better job even though Dominique is a better player. We do have some of those guys playing, and again, that can always be questioned. Whatever makes the football team better is what the head coach does, and I'm all on board with that. 1,000 percent on board. I've been trained, and I wasn't always like this, to look through the eyes of the head coach and the decisions he makes because he has no pet area. He's doing the right thing, no matter how we come to that decision. That's our football team, and I think he's prepped the pie properly."

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