The Circus Is Town As Reid And McNabb Reunite
By Lance Epstein
“It is a part of the business.”
Those were the words head coach Andy Reid used to describe the trade that sent Donovan McNabb to Washington.
On Wednesday, Reid met the media to discuss the Eagles upcoming opponent, which is the Washington Redskins. However, the media circus has arrived in Philadelphia as the most anticipated game of the season is just a mere four days away.
While his press conference was supposed to be on all aspects of his team, it centered on the return of former Eagle quarterback McNabb.
However, Reid reiterated multiple times that the game on Sunday against the Redskins at Lincoln Financial field was not about McNabb, himself or even Michael Vick. It was about beating a divisional foe and continuing to win games.
More importantly, Reid does not have the time to dwell on if his relationship is OK with Mcnabb. He has football games to win otherwise he will be joining McNabb as a former Eagle employee.
Here are Reid’s press conference quotes:
Opening Statements and injuries:
"On the injury side of things, (G/C) Nick Cole will not practice today. I'm going to rest him. And really, that's the only thing I had to mention with the injuries. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Washington Redskins. We know what kind of football team they are, a very talented football team. They've had a couple off weeks, but that doesn't mean anything. We're in the process of analyzing them. And like I mentioned to the team, this is about the Washington Redskins, it's not about (QB) Donovan (McNabb), although he's a very big part of their offense, and so we've got to make sure we study him and how he's playing, or (QB) Michael Vick or Andy Reid, or anybody else, it's about the two football teams, the two NFC East rivals playing each other. They're always knock-down drag-out fights, and I wouldn't expect anything less of this one, so again, they've got a very talented offense. We've seen that. Donovan is doing a great job for them. He's throwing to two receivers that can flat-out fly, and a tight end that is a perennial Pro Bowl player that is on course for having another one of those kinds of years. And then defensively, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is a proven defensive coordinator in the National Football League. He's got a phenomenal mind for defense. And he's bringing people from all over the place, so our offensive line's going to have to be sharp, as will the running backs, and tight ends, and everybody else on the offensive side. And then special teams, they've got explosive players on special teams, so we've got to make sure that we're sharp there. Again, it's very important. I know there are a lot of people here that we're not playing the Redskins today, it's very important that as a football team, we go through the process of getting ready for, again, a big NFC East football game."
On defensive coordinator Sean McDermott making radical changes due to McNabb knowing the defense very well:
"I don't think it's as much that as it is that he's a great player. Listen, he's throwing the ball as well as he's ever thrown it. He's leading that offense, and right now he's playing very good football. So we've got to make sure we study what he's doing in that scheme. It's a little bit of a different scheme. They're moving him around a little bit more than maybe what we did here. He's seeing people on the back side when he's rolling to the right, he's seeing people all the way on the left side of the field, and he's got the gun to throw the ball with velocity on it, so you've got to make sure you cover."
On the challenge the defense has playing against McNabb who knows the defense well:
"Well, that offense can be a very explosive offense. I will tell you, you need to be on your A-game with a quarterback like Donovan, the play is never over until it's blown dead. So you better play the whole play, and our defense knows that. They know it'll be a challenge, and they're going to work their tail off to receive that challenge."
On working with McDermott to game plan since he knows McNabb’s strengths and weaknesses:
"It's a different offense, so it's a different deal. And I talk to Sean all of the time, but he's in a different system. So, that's what you go with."
On the defensive checks being calls are similar to when McNabb was here:
"They're similar; similar to the things when he was here. We've added a couple new little things in there, but similar."
On making the trade and if he thought it would ruin McNabb and his relationship:
"Well, listen, this is a business. I mean, this is a business we're in. And fortunately, that didn't destroy our friendships. But, it's part of the business. He understands it's part of it and I understand. I'm sure neither one of us wanted it to come to that day, but that's how it works. That's how this thing works, and it was a tough decision on my part. But I think it gave him a fresh start, here, and we have a fresh start, so you move on. It's part of life."
On human nature having its affect on him and having him look forward to the Eagles-Skins game:
"Listen, all of the NFC East games I look forward to. That's one of the great things about the NFC East, each one of them, not only by setting, with Washington and New York, but also with Dallas, and the great team out there. It's great competition. And Washington's a good football team."
On talking to McNabb on the field before the game:
"To be honest with you, I didn't think about all that. I thought about the rules, but I didn't think about meeting him before the game. I haven't quite gotten that far, but those things aren't normally planned. I don't know what I'm going to do there."
On the importance of the game due to it being the only NFC East game in the first half of the season:
"Listen, I'm not going to slight any game that you play in the National Football League, because they all count big. But, in the NFC East, this obviously is a big game because of it being just what you said. And then I think we come back with them again before we hit the rest of the NFC. I'm not quite that far ahead, but I know it's an important game. It's a NFC East rival."
On McNabb’s impact on Vick last year:
"I think it was very positive. I think they have a very good relationship. I think Michael had always looked up to Donovan. I think they told you the story about when Michael took his recruiting trip to Syracuse, Donovan showed him around. Donovan opened his arms to Michael coming here. He wanted him here. So I think they've got a really good relationship, and I think Michael looks up to him."
On caring about McNabb being received by the fans:
"I'm big on the things that I can control, and that's something that I can't control. I can't do that. I don't know the answer. I'm not sure Donovan's focused on that. I know I'm not focused on that. I'm focused on getting ready to play that football team, and it's really that simple. Some people have traveled here a long ways, I know. It's a pretty simple thing. We've got to get ready for the Washington Redskins. I think if you get caught up in all of these little things that we're asking here, that's taking away from actually knowing that football team, and that would be the wrong thing to do."
On trading McNabb in April if he knew he was making a QB change in week two:
"Well, since I didn't think about all that and I traded Donovan, I'm not going to worry about that. I mean, that's a fully-loaded question and I'm not Plato (laughing)."
On the reason why McNabb generate the type of reaction when he was here and after he was dealt:
"Well, it probably started with the draft and that whole deal. And, hey, you're playing quarterback in the National Football League, so that's one thing. And two, you have the opportunity to play in Philadelphia and it's a passionate, passionate town. So, there's going to be an opinion. But, I will bet if we took a survey in the city of Philadelphia that the majority of the people thought that guy is one heck of a player and left a great legacy here."
On being surprised at how well Vick has played so far:
"Well, listen, you hope that he would be able to get back to this level and even better. But that was an unknown and the preseason was a little bit up and down. So I think we were all hoping that he can get there, but did we know that was going to be a reality? No. I don't think anybody knew that. But, I'm proud of him for what he's done and how hard he's worked to get to that point and there's a lot of season ahead. So, he has to continue, which he knows, he has to continue to work. He has plenty of room to get better and he knows that. And that's what he has to focus on."
On Vick having an up and down preseason:
"I think it was just a matter of playing. Extended plays, that's what I think it was, and just getting back in the swing of that. His preseason was cut short last year and then all of a sudden, you're into the season, and he's getting a handful of plays, here, there. He gets hurt, and then he comes back and he gets a handful here and there. There was nothing back-to-back-to-back, so I think that he needed that. This preseason was important for him."
On comparing Vick's personality to McNabb's personality on the offense:
"All the quarterbacks are different. With the Joe Montanas, the Steve Youngs, Brett Favre did it different. Donovan put his own mark on the offense, and what I always tell him is 'let your personality show,' and every person is different; every person in this room is different. It's no different then the quarterbacks. You give them a system and then you let them do their thing with the system and let their personality show. And so, it's too early right now to tell. His body of work is two and a half games. Time will tell, and then we'll be able to answer that question."
On adapting to Vick’s personality on offense and the fans thinking he is too used to McNabb’s:
"That's a good question. I don't necessarily know that. I would tell you that I appreciated all the eleven years of Donovan's personality and what he did with this offense. And I loved every day of it. I loved having him here. And when (QB) Kevin Kolb took over, I felt that same way; it was different. But, I enjoyed his personality and now Michael's taken over and I've enjoyed the way he's handled it. And I think all three of them are well-liked by their teammates and that's part of the team and leadership and all those things you need for that position, but they're all different. All three of them are different."
On Vick being a younger version of McNabb:
"Well, there's not a whole lot of age difference there. They're both different and have a different game. You can say that they both can run or do a lot of stuff, but they're different; as much as it is one is right handed and one is left handed, they're different people, they're different guys. Michael put his mark on this offense and it will be different than how Donovan did it. So, Donovan left a heck of a legacy here to follow."
On giving credit to McNabb for helping Vick get to where he is today:
"Well, listen, any credit I can give Donovan, I'm here to do that. So, I know he very easily could have said that he didn't think it was a good idea. Now, he had a past relationship with Michael Vick and saw the good in Michael Vick, so he shared that with me. And then when Michael got here, he followed that up with working out with Michael every morning, helping him with the offensive stuff and going over it from a player's standpoint. And then I give a lot for credit to Michael for being humble enough to be in that situation, at the same time continuing to work to get better at the things he felt he needed to get better at."
On Vick looking down the field when he is on the move is due to McNabb:
"That was one of the thing's Michael wanted to get better at when he came here. And there's no better example of that than Donovan. To be able to see it and talk to him about it, and those types of things, I'm sure it had an effect on him."
On how the Redskins new 3-4 scheme but same personnel changes anything:
"It's early in the year, man. Our players know that they're an explosive bunch. They've got good players. They've got a good coach. We understand that. We know how good they can be."
On TE Brent Celek's slow start:
"Again, that goes in cycles. Especially with the tight end position, that goes in cycles. He's had some big plays for us and he'll continue to have big plays. There will be games when he catches a lot of balls and there will be games when his numbers are down. So, that's just the way it works at that spot. Michael has a lot of trust in him and he'll catch a lot of balls this year."
On changing offensive formations to disguise calls:
"I think if Donovan McNabb were playing middle linebacker, then I'd worry about that just a little bit. But things happen so quickly out there and you have so many plays in the playbook that you can't feasibly go over everything. And Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan was in this system, so he knows how it works, and it's a matter of the players on the defensive side playing. I'm sure they're going to study our tendencies and all those things, but then it's a matter of playing. You have to play and do the things that you do. So, I think some of that gets a little bit overblown."
On the reason the Eagles struggle against 3-4 defensive schemes:
"No, I wouldn't say necessarily a scheme. We play some pretty good people and we've had some success and we've had some times when we didn't do as good a job against it, but I'd probably tell you that about a 4-3 team, too. There are teams you can pick out there. We've worked on it enough where we know the 3-4 scheme and we have a pretty good plan there."
On Haslett going to McNabb about the Eagles offense:
"Haslett's probably played against this offense or The West Coast Offense as much as any other defensive coordinator in the National Football League over his years. So, I mean, he's a smart guy. He knows how this offense works. But still, you're calling your plays and you have a massive pool that you're pulling from of the plays, and formations, and tendencies; you study all those things and then you roll it out there, then the defender has to make a decision like that, play's over. Five seconds per play, man. And then they have another ten seconds to figure it out once you come to the line of scrimmage before you snap the football. So, I think we're okay there."