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Marty Mornhinweg Likes What He Sees From Howard, Kolb and Offense

OC Mornhinweg Talks About Eagles Improvements
By Lance Epstein

With the Eagles first preseason game only four days away, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg addressed the media’s concerns about the offensive line. He also discussed QB Kevin Kolb’s ability to handle the blitz, his young offensive tackle and the tight end competition.

Here are his quotes:

On QB Kevin Kolb improving as camp goes on:

"Kevin's done an outstanding job. He certainly has the ability to play at a high level, and we're getting all of our hard work and preparation done."

On Kolb picking up blitzes and dealing with pressure in his face:

"He's doing an outstanding job and we're giving him a bunch of work versus the blitz, and he's done an outstanding job of that. As you know, it takes players around you to play at that high level, and so those other players are doing a fine job in all of those periods, as well."

On the excitement of seeing Kolb in a game situation this Friday against Jacksonville:

"I'm excited to see him, along with many other players. It's an exciting time for many of these players. For some of them, it may very well be their first NFL experience in a game. So you have to anticipate just a little bit of excitement by some of the young guys, and the challenges that they will have will be to run the play and to execute the play just have they done many times out here on the practice field and do it just like that in a game, because many of them will be psyched for their first game experience in the NFL."

On Kolb being extra sharp in practice on Tuesday:

"There were, let's say two or three plays yesterday morning and he was sharp in the afternoon too, that we really focused on getting it done. And then this morning, I thought he was real sharp. There were probably one or two plays in there, if I remember here I have to see it on the film, that we'll work on to get him better for tomorrow and so forth. Teach, correct, re-teach it, correct, and it's an endless situation because we're always chasing that perfection. We want to chase that perfection. You never quite catch it. This is a game of imperfection, but we strive to do that and that's where you get that hard work and preparation and that mentality that you're always chasing that perfection. So, that's what we do at any position."

On the sluggish offense at Flight Night being due to stage fright:

"Well, that happens. That's real. I think that's a real thing. And I'm glad we went through that before we get to the preseason and regular season games. I think that's a real thing. That's my responsibility, as well, because it was a very similar process that we went through last year, if you remember, and I sort of anticipated that just a little bit better."

On if the ups and downs are due to the youth on offense:

"I think you've got it. There are several things we do in meeting rooms and on the field and then some of those things happen naturally. But, we go at it and we make our adjustments and corrections and we want to have that mentality to get better every day. If you get better every day, you're going to be in pretty good shape after this thing is over. And then it might be just one period in practice or it might be the whole practice and then you just get better every day and it tends to work out. So, we've had some pretty good comebacks and we've had a few ups and downs, but I'll say we've been progressing really well."

On offense making progress each day:

"Absolutely. Now, we're so young and in some cases inexperienced that it's a little bit more up and down than in a normal camp. But, I do think that we're making excellent progress and certainly anticipated some of these ups and downs. There will be a time where, we've been through a couple of just great practices, we've been in a couple where it's been the opposite of that, and then we've been in a couple where we've had some great, just terrific periods and then we fell into a couple other periods. So, we're up and down just a little bit, but with this youth and inexperience we sure are getting better at really a high rate from day-to-day with the exception of taking a step back every now and then. We're really, some of these guys are getting better and you can just see it every day. Some guys you can't see it for several days or a week. Some of these guys are getting so much better every day that you can see it just clearly."

On interior line and how it looks as of right now with Todd Herremans, Nick Cole and Jamaal Jackson sidelined:

"They're doing a fantastic job right now. They're working through some things; they're learning an awful lot. They're very good players up there that we have in right now. I have great confidence in those players on the inside. It takes a great amount of hard work and preparation to be good up front, because so many things happen up there, and they're big and strong, and it happens fast up front, much faster than one would ever think if they were watching from afar. "

On Mike McGlynn and his opportunity to start at center:

"Mike McGlynn has a great opportunity right here, and he's making the most of it. He's had some excellent plays, and as you know, as center, he kind of runs the show up front. We do an awful lot up front. [Offensive line coach] Juan Castillo does a great job in their preparation, both in the run and the pass game, and the center sort of directs all of that. It starts with him, and Mike McGlynn has done a fine job. He's still in that learning process, but he's done a fine job up to date."

On being comfortable with McGlynn starting center:

"I've got great confidence in Mike McGlynn, no question about it, and other players do as well. And there are many reasons for that. It's because he's a bright young man, and he's tough. If you have those two things, typically, with enough hard work, you're going to be in pretty good to shape to play in a league game."

On G/T Stacy Andrews biggest improvements since the end of last season:

"He's health. He's healthy this year. So, last year, he had the knee, of course. However, again Coach Castillo did a heck of a job of getting him reps on the side, so he's got a pretty good comfort with our offense, as well. He's doing a good job."

On Andrews needing to become better in pass protection:

"He's got great skill and ability to become an excellent pass protector, so he's right in the middle of that. There's no question he'll become an excellent pass protector. Now his run game, he's so big and physical, and he's got the fundamentals and technique down there, that's at a real high level now."

On T Jason Peters and what he expects to see from him this year compared to last:

"Well, you just said it. Great players play at a high level on a consistent basis, so that's what he's striving for. He certainly is one of the most talented men in this league, there's no question about that. Playing at a high level on a consistent basis is his challenge."

On what Peters can do to become a more consistent tackle:

"It's reps, reps, reps, reps. It's just the general teaching philosophy: reps, reps, reps, teach, correct, re-teach, correct, re-teach, correct. And then pretty soon maybe they're making one out of three right, and all of a sudden they're two out of three, and all of a sudden they're three out of three, and that's just how we go about our business. We play with the thought process that we are unafraid to make a mistake, because all of our training, and our preparation. We're prepared to play, so we play unafraid to make a mistake. Now, if we make mistake, there will be some, then we have to have that mentality where we admit, we correct it, find a solution, correct it, and move on fast. There's another play, there's another game, there's another year coming up. So, those things are important. That mentality on how you approach your craft there."

On comparing Peters and undrafted rookie T Austin Howard:

"Austin, like you said is making that transition from tight end to tackle right now. The thing he has shown is great skill and ability. His skill and ability is at a high level, and we've talked about it already in this press conference. It just takes so much hard work, so much preparation, and then reps. And then you get into game experience, and we'll get some in the preseason, and then you may be able to play elite football in the NFL."

On Howard being a guy he is excited to see during the preseason:

"He's one of many guys that have a real opportunity in front of him here. Everything we do is important. We know that. Everything we do is important. Now these preseason games are really important because we get a chance to evaluate under game circumstances, so the fellas will be excited to do that, and we're excited to see that."

On RB LeSean McCoy as a rookie versus this year in training camp:

"It's night and day. He's so much more comfortable. There's very little thought process that he has to go through. He's breaking the huddle, he's getting lined up and he's playing fast. Whereas, at this time last year, he was coming out of the huddle and it's normal for a young man in his first year, his first training camp thinking. It took some time to allow his natural ability to show, if you remember. So, this year, it's just night and day: 180 degrees opposite. He knows the offense; he's got experience, game experience, as well, so his confidence is at a high level. He knows how to play the game at this level, as far as what it takes physically and mentally, and he's doing an outstanding job—one of our leaders, certainly, on the offense."

On concern about the backup tight end position:

"Well, just the depth. We've been banged up just a little bit, as well, so, the depth. And then the second thing would be the experience. I have some thoughts, and we'll see how that turns out at the tight end spot. I think we do have some talent there. There's a high level of talent there."

On needing to see more of the backup tight ends before being completely confident:

"Like we've discussed, there is so far to go in a short period of time, so that hard work comes into play, and the reps, and the preparation. So all of that has to be done before we're ready to play a league game with some of these young or new players."

On the battle of the fourth and fifth wide receiver position between Kelley Washington, Hank Baskett and Riley Cooper:

"Well, I'm not going to get into the numbers. That's the worst thing a player can do is get into numbers and start counting. Our players, their whole focus is to become the best that they can be in this short period of time. I will say with your question there that we have some excellent depth there and we have excellent young players. So, these next, let's say three weeks or a month is going to be real important for that position, as well as others."

On the running back position with players injured:

"I would expect, just generally all of them to be able to play. So, we're right in the middle of that plan and I believe that Andy [Reid] usually addresses that at some point. Whether it be the day before, usually? I believe."

On Jason Avant’s hands and having the best he has ever seen:

"I'm not sure I've ever had a receiver that has had quite this type of camp, as far as catching the ball. I just looked at the numbers about a day and a half ago and he has caught up near 80 balls - now this is under competitive, this doesn't include the competitive 7-on-7 – zero drops. I'm not sure I've ever had a man do that."

On Avant’s 80 balls in both the 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills:

"All of the competitive-type situations and no drops. It's quite unusual to have that."

On Avant improving as a WR since college:

"I never thought about that, so give me one second to think about it. Let's see, he was an excellent receiver coming out, sure he's gotten better. I don't think there's any question on that and he's a guy that's got that toughness and the hard work and the preparation and he's quite talented, as well. He works diligently and that's his job to catch the ball and he takes that seriously."

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