Nolan Carroll will be the Eagles' kick returner in Sunday's season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars if wide receiver Josh Huff does not play, coach Chip Kelly said Tuesday.
Carroll and Huff are the team's top kick returners, but Huff remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. Carroll, a cornerback signed by the team in March, played in only one preseason game and did not return any kicks.
"I think the way Nolan hits things, he really fits in terms of what our blocking scheme is," Kelly said.
The last time Carroll returned kicks in a game was 2010, when he was the Miami Dolphins' returner. Carroll averaged 24.3 yards per return, with a long of 46. He fielded kicks in practice throughout the spring and summer.
"It's something I've done before, so it just comes natural," Carroll said.
Darren Sproles, Brandon Boykin, and Brad Smith also can return kicks. Sproles is expected to return punts.
The Eagles kept only three running backs on the roster after carrying four most of last season. Kelly said the Eagles kept four last season only after Chris Polk's injury, and they will start the season again with three just as they did at the beginning of last season.
"When you only have 46 guys that can go, if you overstock at one position, then you're going to be understocked at another position," Kelly said.
Polk, who missed the preseason because of a hamstring injury, practiced Tuesday and is expected to play Sunday. Matthew Tucker, who was on the roster for the last 11 weeks of last season, will be on the practice squad.
Offensive lineman Matt Tobin missed Tuesday's practice because of a high ankle sprain and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. The Eagles kept nine offensive linemen on the roster, but Kelly said that was based on performance and not because of Tobin's injury. Dennis Kelly and Andrew Gardner were two linemen who entered camp as bubble players but made the cut.
Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said in an interview with WPEN-FM (97.5) that he expects Nick Foles to have about 25 touchdowns and eight to 10 interceptions this season. When McNabb was asked whether Foles can become a "franchise quarterback," McNabb said he could not answer at this point but if he "had to give a take, I would say no."
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion," Foles said. "I haven't earned anything yet. It's a week-to-week thing, and it will always be."