The identity of the Eagles' kickoff returner remains somewhat in question, but rookie Quintin Demps will see the majority of the action and has edged ahead of second-year man Lorenzo Booker after Booker's struggles against Carolina last week.
“Right now, it’s going to be Quintin Demps," special teams coordinator Rory Segrest said today. "We’re still going to rep Booker back there, but we’re going to try and get Quintin a majority of the reps.”
Asked if coming into training camp the Eagles thought Booker was going to be their man, Segrest said, "We’re happy with either guy. Quintin did it in college there, and he had a lot of success there in college, so we feel like he can get us something back there. But again, we’re going to continue to rep both of those guys, and as the season goes along we’ll probably end up using both of them before it’s over with.”
Booker dropped two first-half kickoff returns last Thursday against Carolina. Yes, it was raining, but you still have to hang on to the ball. Booker never has returned kickoffs before. He also had trouble finding the handle on a ground-ball kickoff to open the second half. Segrest said the issue for Booker would be just getting more experience back there.
"The weather conditions didn’t help on things there, but it was just poor positioning up under the ball," Segrest said. "Booker has to make sure he factors in the weather conditions, know that there’s a bit of a wind that’s going to move the ball a bit, so it’s going to change that setup point for you. But that’s just a matter of experience and the more reps he can get at it the better. Simulate that in practice situations, get some windy days and we’ll catch some balls.”
If this is starting to sound like a year ago when the Eagles seemingly went into the season without a punt returner and it cost them the season opener against Green Bay, Segrest said not to worry and then referenced the additions of DeSean Jackson and Demps as punt returners.
“We’ve moved on," he insisted. "We went 15 games after that first game where we didn’t have any ball security issues, so I think we are well on track to where we need to be ... Again, we’ve moved on, we feel confident in what we’ve got. We’re ready to go forward from here.”