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Eagles out to improve “terrible” kick returns

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When we sifted through the reasons why the Eagles underwhelmed last season, much focus was placed on the team’s offensive turnovers and defensive breakdowns.

Kick returns weren’t a big part of the discussion. Listening to Eagles special teams coach Bobby April talk about his units makes you think that they should have been part of the discussion. The Eagles finished 31st on kickoff returns and 28th on punt returns last season, rankings that don’t do much to make April a happy man.

“We were terrible,” April said, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “We had terrible results … It’s hard to put a finger on [exactly why], we were just really inept. I can only say the ineptitude comes from me, because what we were asking guys to do, they were unable to perform it. Either they couldn’t or they wouldn’t. In either case, that’s a mistake by me … We were really poor, the poorest I can remember in a long time. Just nothing. We made nothing happen.”

The Eagles made two moves designed to boost their returns in 2012. They drafted Brandon Boykin in the fourth round, adding Georgia’s all-time kickoff return leader to the fold, and signed Damaris Johnson as an undrafted free agent. Johnson missed his senior year at Tulsa after being suspended for an arrest on embezzlement charges after he underpaid for merchandise at a store where his girlfriend worked. Despite that, Johnson finished as the NCAA’s all-time leader in all-purpose and kickoff return yards.

April didn’t put the disappointing results all on the returners, but the Eagles’ moves make it plain that they are looking for more in that department this season.

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11 Responses to “Eagles out to improve “terrible” kick returns”
  1. realitypolice says: Jun 6, 2012 10:12 AM

    Cue all the “teams signing criminals” handwringing and joke making.

    That has to be the least crime-y sounding crime ever. My girlfriend did that for me all of the time in college. I’m actually surprised he got suspended an entire season for that. If he played in the SEC, he would have gotten 1 game.

  2. nflofficeadmin says: Jun 6, 2012 10:27 AM

    DJAX can’t return kicks all the sudden? It’s what he does best.

  3. n0hopeleft says: Jun 6, 2012 10:33 AM

    WHATEVER.

    The Giants were terrible too. With the amount of talent on that offense, they could average a starting point of the 5 yd line – they should still be able to smoke teams.

    Stop making excuses, choke artists.

  4. cleverbob says: Jun 6, 2012 10:49 AM

    nflofficeadmin says:
    Jun 6, 2012 10:27 AM

    DJAX can’t return kicks all the sudden? It’s what he does best.
    =================================

    You mustn’t get out of the office too much. He returned all of 1 kickoff last year.

    I think April needs to put more focus on the other 10 players out there. For whatever reason he can’t assemble enough guys from the backup ranks that are hungry enough to go out there and get noticed with a monster hit or block.

  5. greymares says: Jun 6, 2012 11:08 AM

    n0hopeleft says:
    Jun 6, 2012 10:33 AM
    WHATEVER.

    The Giants were terrible too. With the amount of talent on that offense, they could average a starting point of the 5 yd line – they should still be able to smoke teams.

    Stop making excuses, choke artists
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~special teams are 31.4% of the game but i guess you would have to know whether a football was blown-up or stuffed before you can start to learn the game.

  6. nygiantstones says: Jun 6, 2012 11:39 AM

    Good to see the emphasis on an area of the game being relegated to a fading memory. Spend money and draft picks on kickoff returners, then see how many opportunities they have to earn the money.

  7. rogerpredactor says: Jun 6, 2012 1:11 PM

    If I am not mistaken, didn’t they reduce the kickoff return role last season? Why invest in this part of the game? I don’t think the Eagles care if they start on the 20 yd line every time. Their iffense can motor between the 20′s…..it’s the redzone that they suck at.

  8. laeaglefan says: Jun 6, 2012 1:16 PM

    Another season in the return game like the Eagles had in 2011 and Bobby April will be out looking for a new job, just like the rest of the Eagles coaching staff.

  9. jrprostatus says: Jun 6, 2012 1:47 PM

    Our Kick Return game was soooo garbage and I agree redzone was horrible. We def need to fix that to win more games. I’m not to hng up on D anymore I think our D going to be impressive this year with all the new additions and a full offseason of OTAS. We’re going to be a beast on the defensive sideof the ball but what good is it in getting turnovers if they don’t score. I hope I see them scoring in the redzone from the 1 yard line this season.

  10. granadafan says: Jun 6, 2012 4:07 PM

    “realitypolice says: Jun 6, 2012 10:12 AM
    I’m actually surprised he got suspended an entire season for that. If he played in the SEC, he would have gotten 1 game.”
    ============================================

    If he played in the SEC, it would have been a booster who owned the store. Any “punishment” would have been 3 or 4 laps around the end zone after practice.

  11. oldbyrd says: Jun 7, 2012 8:29 AM

    Know what? Whatever works!!! They were horrible…like the linebackers were.

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