DeSean Jackson said at the start of training camp that he plans to be the Eagles’ primary punt returner. In the preseason, Jackson hasn’t returned any punts.
But Eagles coach Chip Kelly says that’s just being prudent. Although Kelly doesn’t want to risk Jackson suffer an injury on a punt return in the preseason, Kelly confirmed today that Jackson will return punts in the regular season.
“There’s no point in exposing him in a preseason game,” Kelly said. “He’ll be out there at some point in time.”
Damaris Johnson handled the Eagles’ punt returns last season, and he has done a nice job returning punts for the Eagles in the preseason. So the Eagles have other options. But Jackson, who led the league in punt returns in 2009 and has four career touchdowns returning punts, is a spectacular player with the ball in his hands in space, and at some point this season he’ll get the chance to show that. Kelly, however, is smart enough to know that the preseason isn’t the right time.