Eagles Notebook: Eagles will try to avoid block party in Arizona

Posted: September 21, 2012

ARIZONA PLAYS and wins a lot of close games, going back to the second half of last season. Special teams play a pretty big role.

A blocked punt in New England last week led to the go-ahead touchdown in the Cards' 20-18 victory. The week before, Arizona blocked a field goal in its 20-16 win over visiting Seattle. In fact, Arizona leads the NFL with 15 blocks - 13 field goals, two punts - since 2008.

"I think their success at blocking is the main thing they have going for 'em," Eagles special-teams coordinator Bobby April said Thursday. " 'Cause they come flying off and they believe they're going to get it . . . you can tell by the way they play, they believe they're going to get it."

April said the Cards use 6-8 defensive end Calais Campbell, who blocked the Seattle field goal, and speedy corner Patrick Peterson as primary disruptors, along with veteran safety Adrian Wilson.

"Those three guys set the tone," April said. "They've got some guys who can get their hands on the ball."

Eagles kicker Alex Henery said the Cards' pressure "just stresses the [need] to get the ball out fast, and you can't hit a low kick."

"One thing I pride myself on is getting the ball up and out, which not everyone can do," Henery said. "I think special teams will be pretty important this week. It's important every week, but this week we have to win that part of the game, I think."

Long-snapper Jon Dorenbos said it would be a mistake for the Eagles to try to change or rush their routine because of the Cards' prowess.

"You respect it, but you try not to get too caught up in it and overthink things," Dorenbos said. "You just gotta stay in your own zone, man, you gotta stay with your own fundamentals. My opinion, if we do things right on our end, and you do the basics, it's hard to block a kick. You just want to make sure you don't given them a chance to capitalize on the mistakes that we can make - it minimizes their opportunity."

April attributed punter Chas Henry's disappointing, erratic performance last Sunday - he went from a 55-yard average gross in Cleveland to 39.2 against the Ravens - to a problem with his drop that April said Henry needs to fix.

"He doesn't drop the ball consistently," April said. "He's got a little bit of a technical flaw where he has a habit of either throwing his little finger in or his thumb out. It causes the drop of the ball not to be correct. It's something that he knows, that he constantly works on."

'Limited' Maclin

Reporters can't watch practice anymore, so we can't really give you much of a sense of how wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip) looked, but Maclin was a limited practice participant Thursday. That would seem to herald a good chance of Maclin playing in Arizona.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) was a full practice participant after being listed as limited on Wednesday. Ditto safety Colt Anderson (knee). Left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring) said he is getting better, but Dunlap did not practice and is not expected to play.

Wide receiver Riley Cooper (collarbone) was a limited participant. Cooper has said he hopes to return for the Giants game next week.

Birdseed

Marty Mornhinweg, asked why the Eagles have been so good with their backs to the wall so far, said: "Well, it's never one thing. It's usually a host of things, and one is confidence. There's no substitute for great confidence" . . . Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was asked how rookie tackle Fletcher Cox has grown since arriving. "Where he's grown is, the game was never too big for him, but just [in] the fundamentals," Castillo said. " has been working hard with him on the fundamentals of not only rushing the passer but being able to play the run on the way to the quarterback." Castillo, on how the Patriots held Larry Fitzgerald to one catch last week: "I think there were times when Larry was open, they just didn't go that way."

Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.

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