Jump to content

Taking a look at Eagles’ options at punt returner, kick returner | Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, more


Recommended Posts

Taking a look at Eagles’ options at punt returner, kick returner | Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, more

Posted Jun 18, 6:30 AM
Jalen Reagor

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor scored a touchdown on a punt return against the Green Bay Packers last season.AP

The Eagles might change up the way they handle the return game under new special teams coordinator Michael Clay.
Over the past two seasons, Dave Fipp used wide receiver Greg Ward as his primary punt returner and running back Boston Scott as his primary kick returner. Ward was favored due to his trusty hands, while Scott was counted on because of the limited proven options at the position.
While Fipp would sprinkle in the likes of DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor and Corey Clement ever so often, the results in the return game -- overall -- left a lot to be desired.
That’s why Clay might decide to take a more adventurous approach during his first year in charge.
Here are the Eagles’ four most logical options at punt returner:
- WR Jalen Reagor: Last year’s first-round pick was limited to just four punt returns last season but returned one attempt for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. With the arrival of DeVonta Smith, Reagor should have less on his plate on offense. Now that he has a season of experience under his belt, the Eagles could feel more comfortable adding to his workload on special teams.
- WR Greg Ward: The veteran receiver has been used as the "safe” returner over the past two seasons. However, those opportunities have led to limited returns. Ward has averaged just 5.6 yards per return, and while he improved his average last season, the Eagles could use some bigger plays in the game’s third phase.
- RB Kenneth Gainwell: Depending on how much he’s used on offense, Gainwell might make sense at both returner spots. While he wasn’t used as a returner in college, Gainwell has the vision and shiftiness to be an asset on punt returns. Darren Sproles, one of Gainwell’s favorite players, obviously starred as a returner, and Gainwell could look at returning as a way to get onto the field immediately.
- WR Quez Watkins: The Eagles could look to use a deep-depth playmaker as their primary punt returner this season. If that’s the case, Watkins makes a lot of sense. Watkins returned punts and kickoffs in college and scored on a punt return as a junior. As Watkins showed against the Arizona Cardinals last year, he’s dangerous and fast with the ball in his hands.
Here are the Eagles’ four most logical options at kick returner:
- RB Kenneth Gainwell: If the Eagles want to get Gainwell on the field immediately, the return game would be a smart place to start. Gainwell doesn’t have return experience, but he does have quickness and a history of running upfield into traffic. Gainwell could be a situational kick returner to start, as he could be used as a spark in tight games.
- RB Jason Huntley: If Huntley is going to make the team, this is his only real shot. Huntley was a prolific returner in college, and the Eagles didn’t take advantage of that prowess last year. Huntley is a long shot to make this roster, but if he can prove to be useful on special teams, he might have a chance.
- RB Boston Scott: The Eagles have relied on Scott as a returner for the better part of three years. While he doesn’t fumble the ball or make a lot of careless mistakes, the Eagles could afford to upgrade the position. Scott could be a fallback plan if the other guys on here don’t work out.
- WR John Hightower: Like Huntley, Hightower needs to find a niche on special teams to stick around. Lucky for him, Hightower has some college experience as a kick returner. During his senior season, Hightower returned 26 kickoffs for 639 yards and a touchdown. Hightower didn’t play on special teams as a rookie, but he will definitely need to be used in the third phase to make the team this year.

Taking a look at Eagles’ options at punt returner, kick returner | Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, more - nj.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...