Eagles Notes: Eagles' DeSean Jackson says he'll be returning punts

A few fans were invited to Saturday's practice. Sunday's open session is a free "sellout."
A few fans were invited to Saturday's practice. Sunday's open session is a free "sellout." (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 29, 2013

DeSean Jackson said he's the No. 1 punt returner, and Jackson expects to return punts this season after the team limited him in that role last year.

"I'm very excited about that," Jackson said. "Able to go out there once again, help the offense get in great field position and things like that. Something I'm looking forward to."

Jackson has four career punt return touchdowns and has averaged 10.5 yards per return. He returned only one punt in 2012, but coach Chip Kelly said early in the offseason that it was a role Jackson could fill. Kelly mentioned Friday that Jackson's ability has already helped in special-teams drills.

"We want our guys to be like Super Balls, not tomatoes," Kelly said. "The Super Ball bounces all the time. He's the ultimate super ball. He bounces all around the field. You watch the looks he did just making our punt team better by fielding kicks back there and letting them learn how to cover it."

Damaris Johnson handled punt returns last season and has been back fielding punts along with Jackson during camp.

QB competition

Michael Vick and Nick Foles split first-team repetitions for the second straight day.

A day after Vick was first up with the starting offense, Foles went first and had slightly more total (42) and first-team snaps (24) than Vick (36 and 17).

Rookie Matt Barkley took the majority of snaps with the third team.

Kelly has said that he needs to see the quarterbacks under duress before he can make an informed decision on the starter. While the first two full- squad days have been relatively tame - players did not wear pads - practices heat up starting Sunday, when there will be contact for the first time.

"Everybody's really excited out here and going hard, but with pads on it's a different feel," Foles said. "So, yeah, I am excited for that more-of-a-game feel with pads because the O-line can get on the D-line, the D-line can go a little harder, and the pocket will be tighter."

Injury update

Wide receiver Arrelious Benn, cornerback Cary Williams, and wide receiver B.J. Cunningham missed practice Saturday.

Benn suffered a knee injury Friday. He stretched with the team Saturday and rode a stationary bike during practice, wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg. Williams, who tweaked his hamstring Friday, worked with a trainer. Cunningham has a right- foot injury and worked out indoors.

Receiver added

The Chip Kelly pipeline continues. The Eagles added another player previously coached by him. He is wide receiver Dave Ball, a 29-year-old who was a record-setting pass catcher at New Hampshire while Kelly was offensive coordinator. Ball broke Jerry Rice's Division I-AA record with 58 career touchdown catches.

Ball went undrafted out in 2007. He has never caught a pass in an NFL game, but he spent time with the Chicago Bears and New York Jets. He also played in the CFL and arena leagues.

Ball's signing is unrelated to Jeremy Maclin's injury. The team signed Ball to fill the spot opened when William Powell failed his physical last week.

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