Bobby April and his special- teams units have been very lucky lately, and he knows it.
In the last two games, the special teams have had three turnovers and a punt blocked. The defense helped limit the damage, taking the ball back twice, but the other two led to touchdowns for the opposition and could have been huge momentum swings if the offense and defense hadn't played better.
"Those were major, major gaffes," April said Wednesday. "You can't do those two things in a game and generally win."
The blocked punt came against Miami, and then the Eagles lost the ball on a punt return when DeSean Jackson threw across the field to rookie Curtis Marsh, who was immediately hit and fumbled.
Marsh then touched a punt against the Jets, leading to a New York recovery even though 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. Marsh told him he didn't hear the call, but April said the rookie has to have better awareness.
"He'll get better," April said. "He is a rookie, and he hasn't played that much."
Later, Dion Lewis fumbled a kick return. He has averaged just 21.6 yards per run back, 23d in the NFL, but the Eagles don't have many other options. April has tried to groom the speedy Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the role, but the corner has shied away from the job after suffering an ankle injury running back kicks against Arizona.
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 last two.
Samuel sits out
Cornerback Asante Samuel sat out practice Wednesday with a sore hamstring, although coach Andy Reid said Monday the injury did not appear significant. A better measure of Samuel's readiness will come with Thursday's practice, the final full workout before the Eagles head to Dallas.
Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins (groin) and Trevor Laws (knee) were limited. Everyone else practiced in full.
Shady tops RB voting
LeSean McCoy got more fan votes for the Pro Bowl than any other running back. With 962,824 votes, he ranked sixth among all players.
Players and coaches also have a say in Pro Bowl nods. McCoy, Jason Peters, and Jason Babin seem likely to be named to the NFC team that is to be announced Tuesday.