Eagles ST coordinator Michael Clay has high praise for his rookie punt returner after Week 1
It’s been awhile since the Eagles have had a consistent punt returner on their special teams unit.
The last time the Eagles recorded a punt return touchdown was in 2020, when then-rookie Jalen Reagor recorded a 73-yard touchdown return in Green Bay. Before that, you’d have to go all the way back to 2015, when Darren Sproles notched two punt return touchdowns during the season, one against the Jets and another against the Patriots.
With DeSean Jackson and Sproles as the primary punt returners from 2008-’15, Philly tallied nine punt return TDs during that eight-year span. Since then, they’ve only managed to record one.
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Eagles fans have been clamoring for some excitement in the punt return game and special teams coordinator Michael Clay believes the Eagles may have found it in rookie Britain Covey.
When Clay was asked about Covey during his Tuesday morning press conference, the ST coordinator had nothing but good things to say about the rookie.
“I’ve been seeing him [in practice] since we were lucky enough to get him after the draft,” Clay said. “He’s cool, calm, and collective. It’s like having a veteran out there.”
Though Covey only saw two punt returns for 13 yards during Sunday’s contest, it was evident that the rookie is an experienced and confident punt returner. There was no dancing around or trying to get to the outside for a big return. Covey took was was in front of him and looked decisive with the ball in his hands.
Even when Covey called for fair catches, he didn’t panic with traffic in his face.
This play from the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game could have been disastrous and turned the tides in Detroit’s favor.
Cool, calm, and collective, just like Clay said.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if Reagor was back there for that return, it’s a muff. Ten times out of ten.
Reagor’s muff during Eagles-Bucs wildcard matchup last season
Covey figures to be the Eagles punt returner for the rest of this year, at the very least.
He was one of the best returners in the country as a fifth-year senior in 2021, racking up 427 punt return yards (14.7 yards per return) while finding the end zone twice.
If Covey continues to impress and manages to bring some of that explosive returning ability to the Eagles special teams unit, there’s no doubt he’ll be a fan favorite by season’s end.
Mandatory Credit: PhillyVoice