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All Philadelphia Sports :: Jackson and Booker set to return kicks
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Eagles News > Tuesday, July-29-2008

Jackson and Booker set to return kicks

Eagles 2008 Training CampA great return game in the NFL ensures that the offense will have a shorter field to work with to score points against the opposing team.  Watching the Eagles’ offense last year, it became apparent that their explosive offense of years past was now incapable of scoring a touchdown, even while in the red-zone.  Settling for field goals (3pts) rather than scoring touchdowns (6pts), usually leads to loses in today’s NFL.  This is exactly what all Eagle fans saw last year- loses.  To make matters worse, our special teams weren’t all that special.  In fact, they were dismal.    The opening day game last year versus the Green Bay Fudge-Packers was a perfect example of this mediocrity shown by the Eagles Special Teams.  Rather than start the season with a great win at Green Bay, the Eagles Special Teams embarrassed themselves and their fans as they blew the game in the closing moments of the game by fumbling a kick return that would have most likely ended the game in their favor.  From that moment on, the Eagles return game was at best shaky, making Philly fans nationwide squirm in their seats every time a member of the Eagles Special Teams squad was waiving for a fair catch.

This year the Eagles Special Teams coordinator, Rory Segrest, doesn’t anticipate having the problems of last year due to the two new faces he has chosen to run kicks back for the Birds this year.  Although, the elusive and speedy DeSean Jackson was the obvious choice at punt returner, the position of kick returner was open to many players including Quintin Demps, JR Reed, Correll Buckhalter, Jamal Jones, and Lorenzo Booker.  Out of this group of able returnmen, RB Lorenzo Booker in his second year out of Florida State seems to be emerging as the as the clear leader of the pack.  Not only is he doing well on special teams, but on offense as well as the back-up to RB Brian Westbrook.  In Monday’s practice, Booker broke a 60-yd touchdown run on a reverse play followed by some great returns on special teams drills.  Similar to other great returnmen (i.e. Deion Sanders, Dante Hall, Devin Hester) both DeSean Jackson and Lorenzo Booker not only have speed, but great vision.  Both players seem to be able to see space and creases very well, sometimes before these gaps to run in even occur.  These intangible skills that both Jackson and Booker possess will give the Eagles a chance to put up six points every time they touch the ball without the offense even stepping onto the field.  This indeed would be a welcome gift to the Eagles and their fans.

--  Jay Vaidya


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