When DeSean Jackson was injured on a cheap shot in the Giants game, a lot of people were wondering why he was returning punts in the first place. He had only just returned from injury and it seemed risky to expose him in that fashion.
We later learned that D Jax requested to return that specific punt because he wanted to make a play and help his squad, according to special teams coordinator Dave Fipp. Regardless, it sparked conversation about whether the coaching staff should have allowed that or not.
You could have the same argument RE: Jalen Reagor, who returned for the Dallas game and caught three of his six targets, one for a touchdown. Fipp, speaking Monday, didn’t rule out using Reagor as a returner in the second half of the season:
Q: I know WR Jalen Reagor was back for his first game before the bye but going forward at punt returner would you like to see him mixed in a little bit more there? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH FIPP: We’ll see with Jalen. Obviously, he just got back. He had been not able to practice for a long time, we didn’t want to just throw him right back there in that situation but I’m sure as we get going, we’ll work him back in and see him more and more back there.
So it begs the question –
Is it worth risking Reagor at punt returner, considering what just happened to DeSean Jackson? Mind you, the D Jax play had nothing to do with the injuries he had recently sustained; it was more about the late and cheap hit that knocked him out of the game. He didn’t reaggravate anything.
But if we deem punt returning to be a higher-risk, higher-impact type of play, would it make sense for the Eagles to play it safe and conservative and let somebody else do it instead of your first round draft pick?
We shall see.