Bobby April was honest in his assessment of the Eagles' kickoff coverage in Sunday's win over the Giants, when the special-teams coordinator oversaw a unit that allowed an average of 36.2 yards on six returns, including a 53-yard return.
"It looked poorly conceived, poorly coached, and poorly executed," April said. "I'm responsible for all of those. I have to draw on all of the resources that I have as a coach and put them into play and then resurrect us from the ashes."
The Eagles lost the field-position battle that coach Andy Reid often cites. The Giants' average starting field position was their own 33-yard line after kickoff returns - 14 yards better than the Eagles' average after kickoffs. Reid and April met Monday morning. April said Reid wasn't angry in the meeting, but it would have been understandable had he been.
"Would he have a right to be ticked off? Absolutely," April said. "The tone or whatever was not anything but a conversation about what ways we can improve."
A few factors contributed to the struggles. The Eagles missed Colt Anderson (knee), Akeem Jordan (hamstring), and Riley Cooper (collarbone), three of their best special-teams players. Anderson will play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cooper also could return. Jordan still might be missing.
"We've just got to win our one-on-one battles," Anderson said. "It's a combination of a few things. It's getting off blocks, being in the right lanes, knowing your leverage. And you have to give credit to the Giants, too. They had a good scheme, a good returner, and their blockers blocked real well."
Alex Henery's kickoffs also were not as deep as he can kick them, and April took responsibility for that issue. Last week, the Eagles faced the prospect of playing with a new long-snapper and a new holder, so they spent more time on the field-goal operation than on Henery's kickoffs.
"I really wanted his leg to be as spry as it could be for game day," April said. "We cut back a little bit on his kickoffs, and . . . you have to do it over and over. That was a miscalculation on my part."
But the message that Sunday night's results on kickoff coverage were unacceptable was made clear when Brian Rolle was waived - mostly for special-teams purposes - and Adrian Moten was signed to help the unit.
"You don't want too much security in this particular profession," April said. "At least from my vantage point, too much security hinders your ability to improve. No one should have a whole lot of security."
Watkins back, Jordan not
Jordan did not practice for the second consecutive day.
Offensive guard Danny Watkins was sidelined for Wednesday's practice with a chest injury, but he returned Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.
Defensive tackle Derek Landri was a limited participant Thursday because of knee inflammation. That was an improvement from Wednesday, when he did not practice.