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Philadelphia Eagles News

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April


** On whether WR Damaris Johnson will be returning punts on Sunday: "Damaris will be the guy. I know he's looking forward to it. He's from New Orleans. It'll be a big homecoming for him and I think he'll play really well."

On this week's travel also being a homecoming for him: "Homecoming for me, absolutely. We're both going back."

On whether he has any New Orleans related travel tips: "Not really. I could probably think of a few but don't have any off hand."

On whether he feels like the team is getting closer to a big return: "Well I do think we are getting better. I think I've said it before but the increments of improvement may not be as fast as we would like but I definitely think we are getting better. Guys are playing better fundamentally, our production is better, so I do think we're closer. I think somebody asked me, I misunderstood the question when I read it, if we were going to break a big return. And I thought the question was, 'Have you been close to a big return?' Because usually it's, 'We're only one block away and that thing is gone.' I didn't think we were close but I do think we'll get close and now I think we are close. We can't (regress). We try to keep driving for the summit and hopefully we'll stay close to it if we ever get close. We're still not close but I do think we'll break one some time. Hopefully this game, hopefully soon. That will certainly help us win the game."

On whether he has said anything in particular to Johnson since he has not returned punts in a few weeks: "Yeah, he hasn't been in the games but he's practiced every day catching a lot of punts. He didn't take as many reps with the team but we do a specialists period before and then we have him catch when our punt team is practicing their stuff. We're not necessarily running a return off of a card. So he's caught (punts but) he hasn't caught in a game. He feels confident. He's ready to roll."

On what he wants to see from Johnson this Sunday: "Well I'd like to see him manage the game properly, make good decisions on getting to the ball, balls that he should catch I want to see him catch, ones that he should let go, I want to see him let them go, and then most importantly, every time, every game, every player, is ball security. He's got the running skills. If we give him some space he'll make something happen running it. That's kind of the given. We just have to give him the space. And (P Thomas Morstead) is leading the league in net punt and he might be leading in gross punt too. That statistic doesn't matter that much but he's leading in net punt so we've got a big challenge. He can directionally punt well. He's punted a lot of balls 50 yards out of bounds. Those kinds of things. Hopefully we do a good job of giving Damaris an opportunity."

On whether is it difficult to get good kickoff returns in the Superdome: "There have been some returns in there. This guy Morstead can kick them. That's a nice weapon. He never has to kick into a wind or (anything) like that. He kicks a lot of them out of the end zone."

On whether Morstead handles kickoff duties: "The punter is the kicker. It's tough to get a return against him but there's been returns. About half of them have been returned so you've got a shot."

On whether CB Brandon Boykin has been discussed as a potential punt returner: "I thought he did a nice job of making that initial guy miss (against Atlanta). That was a really good punt and the guy got on us and I thought he did a nice job of initially making the guy miss. He could return. I think Damaris is ahead of him."

On whether having Johnson take a step back will allow him to leap forward in the near future: "Yeah, I think all that is good for him. From what I know of Damaris, I don't think he needed any external motivation. I think he's already motivated. I think he's really motivated. I think he's really a competitor. I don't necessarily think he needed that but I do think you need a chance to mature and I do think you have a chance to gain a greater appreciation for what you're doing. When you're grateful you tend to be more productive. I think that gives him that opportunity."

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