DeSean Jackson was among the players practicing during punt return drills, taking him back to an area he’s been away from the last two years.
“Punt return is going to be a big factor,” Jackson said, via Sheil Kapadia of Phillymag.com. “Kind of bring my niche back out there and help that punt return team. Not only that, just go out there and make plays, get that electrifying unit back, to be able to go out there and score touchdowns at any given time.”
Jackson scored four touchdowns on punt returns his first three seasons, averaging 15.2 yards per return in 2009. But he only had one attempt last year.
Jeremy Maclin and last year’s return man Damaris Johnson were also out there yesterday, but Jackson sounded like he was fine with getting back to his roots.
“He wanted me to be back there and me wanting to be back there myself,” Jackson said of coach Chip Kelly. “I think last year, being able to have Damaris come in here and take on that role helped me out a lot. But at the end of the day too, I still missed a lot of those opportunities where I was able to do things in the past where if it was a 20-yard run, 50-yard run, whatever… if it was a touchdown. I mean those were things that helped the offense out, and you really don’t realize it, but they help out a lot.”
Jackson has shown big-play ability on offense and special teams, and it’s no surprise that figuring out a way to get the ball in his hands is one of Kelly’s first priorities. Most receivers get tired of doing it as they become bigger parts of the offense, but if Jackson’s on board, it’s something the Eagles should explore.