Boston Scott Aiming for Happier Returns

Ed Kracz

Boston Scott has been returning punts for the Eagles since Oct. 13.

Not just for the Eagles, but for his entire life. He never before returned a punt in a game until that date in Minnesota, five games ago.

He made a couple mistakes in a 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots, such as fielding one inside the 10-yard line, which is a no-no typically, and also tried to return a punt late in the game rather than making a fair catch to get the offense on the field with more time to work.

Scott will be the first person to tell you all that, while also accepting responsibility for fumbling a kickoff return that could have been disastrous had the ball not bounced several times at crazy angles until finally going out of bounds several yards away from where Scott got stripped of it.

In fact, Scott did tell you that on Twitter.

Less than 24 hours after the game with New England, he took full responsibility for his errors.

“It was an accountability thing,” said Scott on Friday. “I set a high standard and can be really hard on myself. I felt I made key mistakes. I have to be better.”

Scott will return to the return role on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. He will probably handle at least the punt return chore for the remainder of the season with Darren Sproles on Injured Reserve.

“To fill in, quite frankly, on kind of a short notice, for him to do both the dual return spots last week, is a credit to him,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “Obviously he had the one mishap (fumbling the kickoff) and we were fortunate there, but he's really filled in well and done a nice job.

“It's something that moving forward we just have to continue to work on and continue to give him every opportunity in practice to get better. He’s a young, talented player with some quickness and some explosiveness; and then on top of that, to be the backup running back behind Miles (Sanders) last week. So he's done a nice job. He's done a nice job, and we'll keep him coming.”

Last Sunday’s game was the first time this season that Scott had returned kickoffs, though he handled that chore late year after the Eagles signed him off the practice squad of the New Orleans Saints. Scott also returned kicks while at Louisiana Tech.

It’s returning punts that he is learning on the job.

“It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Scott, who had 26 yards on seven carries last week. “I think it’s one of the hardest positions in the NFL. It’s easy to say what you see from the stands or on TV, but when you’re back there and you have (weather) conditions (and), OK, where are my jammers, OK, where’s the coverage, OK, where’s he kicking the ball, track the ball in the air, do I fair catch it, where am I at in relation to the field?

“There’s a lot of things you have to think about in a matter of five seconds, that’s how long the ball’s in the air. So there’s a lot more to it than what people think. Each rep I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable and I plan on building on that."