Today the defensive coaches talked after practice. A heavy volume of reporters parked themselves in front of the entertaining Jim Washburn, so I skipped over him and went to DB coach Todd Bowles and ST coach Bobby April. We’ll start with some Bobby April bullet points:
- April said P Chas Henry needs to improve, and wants competition for him. He noted that Henry is a talented guy, but needs to be more consistent. April also noted that very few rookie punters do well their first year in the league, and thought he did well for a rookie, especially an undrafted one. (For the record, I’m not so sure I agree on that last point). “We want competition to enhance his ability or competition that can surpass his ability.”
- April noted, as previously reported, that they worked out a number of punters, and they want to sign one of them.
- A reporter (Domowitch, I think) mentioned that the punters they brought in are established vets, and not just “camp bodies,” which April agreed with. The first punter he mentioned (on his own) was McBriar. He said “McBriar has had as good a career as anybody playing. He’s right up there, top 2 or 3. I don’t know how it’s going to work out, I don’t know that negotiating/financial end of things.” April also thought McBriar’s previously injured plant foot looked fine in his workout. The impression I got was that if April had his pick of the litter, it would be McBriar, and the “negotiating/financial” quote could be an indication that the Eagles and McBriar may already be discussing a contract. To be determined if Howie Roseman gets him his new toy. I know Cowboys fans won’t be very thrilled with that development, should it happen.
- April talked briefly about McBriar’s flip-flop, end-over-end, difficult-to-catch punts on shorter, near-the-endzone punts. Compared him to Darren Bennett, the first real Aussie punter. Kudos to you if you remember him (Chargers).
- A few weeks ago April had addressed that the kick return team was bad last year, and he did so again. Nothing new there.
- April felt that if the special teams units played better last year early in the season, the Eagles may have won some of the closer games.
- The Eagles have half a dozen guys that could potentially return kicks this season, but he said that kick return evaluation is difficult. April noted that you only get a small number of KR opportunities in the preseason, and a bunch of them will be touchbacks. (And full speed kick returns are not something you want to practice in camp, because of the high likelihood of injury).