The Eagles got a lot of questions this week about putting DeSean Jackson back into the punt returner role after rookie Damaris Johnson failed to find much success this season.
Jackson said he was ready to do whatever the team asked of him and special teams coach Bobby April sounded like he was prepared to go that way, but coach Andy Reid said he was “not necessarily” ready to put Jackson back in that role at the moment. The Eagles took a step toward an answer with a bit more conviction on Sunday.
Johnson is inactive for their game against the Lions, leaving the job open for Johnson if they decide to see if he can get a fifth career punt return touchdown against the struggling Lions kick coverage unit. Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard and cornerback Brandon Boykin are also options for the job, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Jackson deep for a kick at some point on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles currently rank 28th in the league in punt returns. The Lions have allowed their opponents more than 27 yards per return and given up two touchdowns on punt returns.