Philadelphia Eagles News

ST Coordinator Bobby April

On why he was stopping the players after every play during today's practice: "We want to teach them what to do, and who to block, and then as we go, we'll be able to teach them how to block. For right now, anyway, it's who they need to block. So, I want to take it where they understand what we're doing. Kind of like karate, you need to learn all of the techniques before you jump into the fight. There's three phases really in the process of these guys executing what you want. There's teaching, technique, and then there's testing. I think all too often, we go into the testing phase without teaching them, talking them through the technique and literally walking them through it. There's a tremendous amount of learning that goes on and just what to do, when they feel comfortable about what to do, you teach them how to do it. That's my experience, maybe it's no good, I don't know, but for me, that's the best way."

On his impressions on P Ken Parrish and the punting competition: "I think that there's two sides of that, primarily because Ken is doing both, he is kicking and he is punting. Yeah, I think it would be pretty tough, even if a guy really kicked well, to say he's going to beat out (K) David (Akers), because are you going to make that kind of gamble? Are you going to let a guy go who has had that kind of career because during training camp, somebody maybe kicked a little bit better. First of all, it would be tough to outkick David anyway. That's just a fact, but (Parrish) is legitimate because (Eagles GM) Howie Roseman and I talked about it when I got here. We wanted to bring in the best guys that we could, and try to make our team better. If they beat out somebody, then our team was better than it had been before. If they don't, then we have to take wherever we're at, and advance that guy. So we look primarily at who is the best guy out there at that particular time who is a punter, and we thought it was (P) Durant Brooks, and I had a high grade on him coming from Buffalo, when he came out of Georgia Tech. Howie and the staff here had a high grade on him when he came out of Georgia Tech. Like most punters, like most kickers, there's a grapes of wrath experience for them, before they become a starter in the league. It's a tough road, and he's experienced that. That's the normal path for most guys. Most guys have that path. Just because he was out there doesn't mean he was failure or lost all of his talent. So we signed him. Then we talked about the best guy out there, who could do both—who could kick off. As David goes, he's still a good kickoff man, but if there's somebody who could do both, let's find out who the best one was. We felt that Ken Parrish was. We looked at all his stuff that he did last year in camp, it was outstanding. (Special Teams Quality Control Coach) Jeff Nixon went to a couple of things, a couple of workouts, where Ken was. He outkicked the competition. We just procured more talent, and if it ends up that they're better, they should get the job. (P) Sav (Rocca) had a heck of a year, he had the all-time net for the Eagles. He had a very low, I think it was 200-something yards, given up on returns. That's very low. He had a big year, but if we can improve, it's just like any other position, like any other guy drafted. Sav is by far and away the incumbent, for sure."

On his new bulletin board in the locker room: "I've been doing that for a while and I just carried the deal here. I coach really every guy on the team. Every guy on the team has a responsibility to my area, but it's not habitual. They don't go to the same spot everyday at 9:30. I have six, actually seven phases when you put the hands team in there. I have to get them all in and then, from one meeting to the next, I have to progress and then I have to come back to it a couple days later. So, there has to be a tremendous way to communicate with these guys. The bulletin board comes from me. Now all the detail in the bulletin board like exactly what we're going to do, exactly where the players line up, the thought of the day, all of that kind of stuff if you really look at the board, and I'm assuming you did, that's all stuff that gives them the opportunity to look forward. If they look forward to what they're going to do, they'll at least think about what they're going to do and if they're thinking about what they're going to do, they may be a little more prepared to do it. I got that idea really as a college player. I played at a very small school, Nicholls State. We had a coach that played for Paul Dietzel who was tremendously organized. That's how he did it. For me now, and of course maybe I wasn't good enough to not look at it, I looked at that stuff every day and it helped me. I looked on there and I saw we were doing linebackers against guards, period three. In my mind, I was always thinking about what we were doing. So it's helped me and I tried to stress to them to look at it. I have to do it anyway because that's how I have to get organized for practice. I have to have it on paper because there are a lot of moving parts out there. Today we had 44 guys moving at one time and then we had a group of 12 over here and a group of 18 over here. If you don't get that on paper, we can't take our computers out there. So why not post it? Then the stuff on the back, just from general reading, I try, somewhat, poetic the picture of the snow and in the background, the stadium. Where it talks about Caesar's army with so well trained in the winter when they marched south mastery and so forth. It just says there's our winner, the future's out there, but if we don't train now, we're going to be forfeiting some time to the opponent. Then the constitution is, if we can achieve those things, it's really all the areas and all the fundamentals of football; inside leverage, ball side of the opponent, possession is our number one priority. It's all concepts and fundamentals. Hopefully they read it because I can't make them. I've heard a lot of people say if you want to keep something secret from a player, just put it in writing. I don't know if it's true or not, with the exception of maybe the newspapers because they do read that. You guys are very influential."

On who will be on kickoff returns as far as returners: "Fortunately or unfortunately, I was in the division with (CB) Ellis Hobbs when he was in New England. So I had to face him twice a year as a coach. Boy, he's really good; he's really good. I think it's going to be a question with him of his health because you're talking about, obviously, a serious deal when you're talking neck injury or recovering from a neck injury, or whatever. Ellis will have to make that decision on how healthy he is to actually do that. It's a high-impact play, there's no doubt about that. We have Ellis Hobbs, he's fantastic. I think (S) Quintin Demps, if you round up the first day of practice, the very first thing we did, we did that ball security drill where you poke the ball and try to pull it out and everything. You have to hold on to the ball. One of our articles is possession is our number one priority. So that was a drill, but it was also a message that we have to do this. I know he put the ball on the ground a couple times, but he's a tremendous returner. I think with those two guys with the experience, we're in pretty good shape. It's a big position, it's a big position for a lot of reasons. It's a big position for judgment, it's a big position for ball security, so we need a strong guy in there. I feel good with those two for sure. Everybody else, we have to wait and see how they play and maybe in preseason."

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