Bobby April and the Eagles special teams units have been very lucky lately, and he knows it.
In the past two games the special teams units have had three turnovers and a blocked punt. The defense helped limit the damage, getting the ball right back after two of the mistakes, but the other two led directly to 14 points for the opposition and could have been huge momentum swings if the offense and defense hadn't been playing better.
"Those were major, major gaffes and without a dominant performance by the defense in both games, really dominant, and really a dominant performance by the offense, we probably," April began, then quickly shifted gears, "you can’t do those two things in a game and generally win. Those are major gaffes, you just can’t have a blocked punt."
"You lose a possession and then not only do they have possession, they have great field position," April said.
The blocked punt came against Miami, and then the Eagles lost the ball on a punt return when DeSean Jackson threw back across the field to rookie Curtis Marsh, who was immediately hit and fumbled. April said the man who hit Marsh was supposed to be blocked.
Marsh then touched a punt against the Jets, leading to a New York recovery even though DeSean Jackson had called for the return team to get away from the ball.
"There’s a communication thing that the punt returner has to do and then there’s an awareness part of the kid too," April said. "He was out there, breaking his back to try to help get a return and in his aggression he wasn’t aware of the ball."
April said Marsh told him he didn't hear the call, but he said the rookie has to have awareness in that situation.
"He’ll get better," April said. "He is a rookie and he hasn’t played that much."
Part of the problem may have been that it was a short punt, so Marsh may not have realized that it had hit the ground so soon, April said.
Later Dion Lewis fumbled a kick return. He has struggled in the return game. April said a kick off is supposed to seize back momentum, but a fumble does just the opposite.
"Part of the mission of the kick off return team is to provide an immediate spark, to have something right there – we’re right back on you," April said. "They score? So what – here we come."
April said he has to coach his group better. Another week with such drastic mistakes, and the Eagles might not be as fortunate as they were in the past two.