Reid, Kolb Talk Packers And More
By Lance Epstein
On Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Kevin Kolb talked to the media about the season opener against the Green Bay Packers.
Reid was asked a flurry of questions regarding the similarities between Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and his quarterback Kolb. Reid danced around the question and didn’t acknowledge the media hype of comparing the two young quarterbacks. Additionally, Reid discussed center Jamaal Jackson and his stamina heading into the game on Sunday.
As for Kolb, talked about how Rodgers has lent him a helping hand in transitioning to a NFL starting quarterback. Furthermore, he reiterated that Rodger’s confidence was a major reason he was able to replace legendary quarterback Brett Favre. Moreover, Kolb discussed getting his starting center back and how he plans to get his teammates involved.
Here is what both had to say at their press conferences:
Head Coach Andy Reid:
"Alright, really I don't have anything to report for you on the injuries. Everybody will be suited up and practicing today. We do look forward to the challenge of playing the Green Bay Packers. We know they have a championship-caliber football team and we welcome them in to Lincoln Financial Field, like I mentioned the other day. I know our fans will be out of their minds and they'll really be the 12th man out there when we're on offense, defense and special teams."
On the Packers and how they stack up against them:
"Listen, I think you probably could ask every head coach in the National Football League, I think all the coaches are excited to get it started, I think all the players are excited to get it started. I think, on the other hand, we all understand it is a long season, but I can't tell you that everybody's not excited to get rolling here."
On if he rather not play the Packers to kick off the season due to their high expectations:
"No, not at all. I welcome the challenge. I think our football team welcomes the challenge. We know that they're a good football team. People are predicting them to go to the Super Bowl and rightly so. That's a quality team they are. To a man, I think if you ask our football team, they look to the challenge."
On making his decision to declare QB Kevin Kolb the starter ties in with Rodger’s success:
"Well, I mean, I looked at it. I looked at the situation in Green Bay. I hear he's done a phenomenal job taking over for an obvious legend. I think Kevin – there's a similarity there. I feel that way about (Redskins QB) Donovan (McNabb), that Kevin is having the opportunity to take over for a legend. I can't tell you I didn't look at it, but I looked at a lot of different situations. Most of all, I looked at Kevin and the way he handled things last year and really since he's been here, but last year and the games he had the opportunity start and how he's handled this offseason."
On Rodgers up and down first year as the starter in Green Bay and how it relates to Kolb:
"Listen, I think all – and I think Aaron Rodgers is tremendous. I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League. I think it's important that you analyze – all the quarterbacks are different. They all do it a different way. I think it's important that I sit there and I spend the most time making sure that I analyze Kevin and that's what we did. Will there be things that he learns along the way? Absolutely. He's a young guy."
On similarities or differences between McNabb and Kolb at the beginning of their careers:
"Well, it's a different situation, obviously. Donovan started his second year and we're into Kevin's fourth. So, it's a different situation. Every quarterback in this offense, over the years has put his own brand on the offense. So, I don't think it's fair necessarily to compare the two, at all. I think Kevin will do it his way just like Donovan, the legacy that he left did it his way. So, I think they're both smart guys that love to play the game and Donovan's already been successful in this offense and I would expect Kevin to be likewise."
On Kolb two starts last year and if it was good preparation:
"Yeah, I think that helps. I think it helps that he's had an opportunity to prepare himself as a starter last year and I think that will help him this year. I'm not going to tell you he won't be excited to go out there. He'll still be excited, but at least he has an idea of how to get himself ready mentally and physically to play."
On resting the starters in the last preseason game and the last couple of days:
"They're coming off a tough training camp, so it was good to give them a few days off. They were back in here Sunday and got a little bit of work. They come in to lift on the off days, too, so they've been around. At the same time, you've got to go through the process and that's the important part here. As excited as everybody is, you have to go through Wednesday's practice; that's today. Then you've got to go through Thursday's practice and make sure that you hit your goal line, short-yardage and nickel. Then go through Friday's practice, which is red zone, and make sure that you hit that. You have to detail each one of those categories and go through that whole process there and study the opponents, study the gameplan, and then you'll be ready to go out and play."
On defense and its stability:
"I think it's important. As much as you could do that at any position is important. The linebacker position, that was a bit of a challenge last year with all the injuries. In particular, to your primary signal caller who's at MIKE linebacker. We went through a couple of them with Omar Gaither and Stewart Bradley going down. It's good to have that stability there. Communication is key at that position. Not only the communication between the three of them, but the communication that they present to the defensive line and to the secondary. They're kind of the transmitter between those two positions there, so it becomes very, very important."
On concerns starting two rookies on defense:
"I can't tell you that there was. I think both these kids, they reflect a certain confidence to you that they have, and I haven't felt that way."
On if he has to keep his rookies and first-year starters in check this week:
"Well, the main thing that I've talked to them about is go through the process and then you go play. Then you've got it down, exhaust the process and study and then put your personality into it and go play. We'll take it from there."
On the game being a shootout:
"Well, I'm not sure that you can plan for it to be a shootout, because you're coaching that defense up – the Philadelphia Eagle defense up – to make sure that it's not a shootout. I don't plan on it that way, but I will tell you they have an explosive offense. And there will be a play or two made by their offense. That's what they do. They're very good. It's important that we, as the Eagles, take care of the offense and make sure that we have that coached up and we execute well."
On interior line and being comfortable with it:
"Yeah, I think our record is 13-3 over the last two years, but that's alright, with those three in there. But, the point's made. I think with (G) Reggie Wells and (G) Max Jean-Gilles, I think you're solid in there and then the experience that (G/C) Mike McGlynn got and the ability that he has to really play all three positions. But the guard and center position are very important, in particular with what you're saying when guys come off the injury, you have guys behind them there that have a lot of confidence and would be willing to play if something were to re-occur."
On C Jamaal Jackson and him being comfortable playing four quarters:
"A little bit of that's an unknown. I'll tell you that I feel comfortable with him, he feels comfortable and the doctors feel comfortable. But, I can't tell you that I'm not going to keep a close eye on him; I will do that. And Mike McGlynn and his experience at that center position is important for those first few weeks, here."
On Jackson reinjuring his knee or back to the same physical level as before the injury:
"Well, I think he's back, yeah. Again, we just have to see. That's some of the unknown that I was saying. We just have to see how he does and sustains throughout a game. And he's got a pretty good task this week in their base defense. He's going to be covering every snap, so it will be a good challenge."
On feeling like a rookie with the amount of youth on the team:
"Well, I'll tell you, there's a lot of energy because of the youth. And I guess the newness of the group they've had a lot of energy right through mini-camps on through training camp and I tried to present them with a tough training camp and they hustled through that and maintained their energy level, that's refreshing. I enjoy it. I think it's contagious, probably with all of us. So, it's a good thing."
On the unknowns due to having so many young players:
"Yeah, you're right. The guys haven't been through the process here of the season. And a lot of them, even the process that they're going to go through this week of preparing for a regular season game, and four quarters and so on. So, that's where the newness comes in. And it's important that as coaches and as players that you cover all the basis and that you stick to the process, trust it, and get to know the game plan and the opponent the best you can."
On changing what he does due to the youth:
"Well, listen, we tried to exhaust it even when the veteran players were here when we had the age. But, my point is that they had been through it for a number of years and they kind of understood that, but no, to answer your question, no. We'll continue to teach, and the players will continue to learn. And that's kind of what's been going on here for quite a few years."
On the new season and a new era of players:
"Well, listen, I would go back to the original statement. I think we're all excited to get started and get on with it. It's unknown territory, but that's ok, that's the challenge of it. It's a beautiful thing, so we're ready to go. Listen, the guys that have been here, I wish them all the best. (QB) Donovan McNabb, I love the kid and I wish him the best – with exception of a couple games – but I absolutely wish him the best, great person."
On rookie starters S Nate Allen and DE Brandon Graham:
"Well, Nate got into the starting position earlier than when Brandon did, so I'll start with Nate. Nate has done a very nice job. He's intelligent. He's got very good athletic ability. I know there was a question about whether he could hit or not, and I think we've all seen that he's physical and he's got good ball skills. He's continuing to learn every day. So, he's a sharp guy that has a lot of responsibility back there, but he's really taken to that and kind of attacked the issue there. Brandon came in and he's in the starting position at the left defensive end. He's got a great motor, again, very smart. The kid loves to play the game. He just has tremendous energy about him and I think if you've interviewed him, you've felt that, that's the way he plays. And when he gets out there in game situations he carries it over from practice during the game."
On WR Hank Baskett being different after a year away from the team:
"No, he seems like the same guy. I trust him a lot. He knows all of the wide receiver positions along with the tight end position, and he's a good special team player."
Quarterback Kevin Kolb:
On the difference between being a starter and known he is just filling in for Donovan McNabb:
"It's a little bit different. It's a lot alike, as well. Green Bay's a good team, just like New Orleans was. So I'm trying to pull off a lot of the things we did last year against them, but it's going to be a 16-game run here with the regular season, so we want to get it started off on the right foot."
On getting to put his own spin on the offense like Donovan McNabb did:
"My play's a little bit different than Donovan's. For us, we're just all about execution and consistency. That's what we want to try to preach, and run the gameplan the best it can be run. That's what, not only I bring, but all of the ingredients of the team bring, so we'll just keep focusing on that and hopefully we'll get rolling Sunday."
On speaking to McNabb still:
"It's still open, but I haven't talked to him in the last couple of weeks."
On the similarities between himself and QB Aaron Rodgers:
"I mean, I'd like to say there are some similarities there. He gets the ball out fairly quickly and he's got a good, quick release. And of course his execution is the main thing I look at, along with the success he's had the last couple years. So, there are a lot of things to pull off from him and I look at him very closely. But again, you're in a different system, a different situation, and of course you're two different players. But there's definitely plenty to take from Aaron and I like the way he handled the situation."
On reaching out to any quarterbacks this week for advice:
"I reached out to a few of them. (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers and I exchanged phone calls yesterday, and I look forward to talking here pretty quick."
On Rodgers helping him during this transition:
"The big thing I pull from him is how he handled everything. The whole picture, that's with (QB) Brett Favre leaving, similar to me with Donovan, also, in my opinion, it's taking over a good team, it's not like young guys who come in and they're doing a rebuilding thing, we both had good teams coming in to, so success is demanded right off the bat, and it's no different here."
On the advice Rodgers gave him:
"We have just exchanged text messages, it really hasn't been a full-fledged conversation yet, so like I said, that will come."
On Rodgers handled taking over for Favre and was he impressed:
"Just how steady he is. Nobody ever questioned his confidence. They've always known he had the ability, but the way he has just shown solid confidence through the whole thing, not only is that solid for the fans and the media, and everybody looking from the outside, but it's important for his own teammates. They never want to see their quarterback waver. So that's something that I can pull from, and obviously use."
On if it would have been better for him to play a different team considering all the comparisons between him and Rodgers:
"No. I mean, look, we know they're a great team and I like that we're going out and we're testing ourselves right off the bat. There are a lot of questions around the league – we don't have questions in here – but there are a lot of questions around the league of what we have and again, we look forward to putting it to the test this weekend against a good football team."
On comparing this start to his first ever start against the Saints:
"It's similar to New Orleans, because it's a tough game, but at the same time, I know I have a 16-game run here with this team and we're looking to do things for the next 16 weeks, but I don't want to get caught up looking down the road. I want to focus on this game right now, and then we'll get a "w".
On not getting too amped up for the first game:
"Well, you don't want to get yourself too amped, too early. We've all been chopping at the bit here for the last four or five days to get out here and practice. (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid always tells us the game is on Sunday, but we have to play within ourselves. We know what we have, and we've got a great game plan, and I'm looking forward to putting it on the field and see what we've got."
On the two starts helping him not get to amped up:
"Yeah, sure. You pull off of what you've done, and that's the two games that I've gone in and started. So I know what I need to feel like come game time. And now I have my routine down for the preparation during the week, and it's all stuff that I have to learn as I go, but I can pull off those two games from last year. We obviously want it to be a little bit different than New Orleans. We want to go out there and win."
On being prepared for this experience:
"I'm very prepared. We're very prepared as a team. The coaches do a great job here, I think we have the best coaching staff in the NFL, so preparation won't be an issue. And I know energy won't either. It's getting out there and executing against a good defense and putting it all together."
On being anxious to get the ball rolling:
"Very anxious. Very anxious for not only my first game, it keeps going from there. First road game, and going to Jacksonville and all of that, so there's a lot of first times this year for me, obviously. I just try to take it one step at a time, and right now I want my first win today, and we'll work from there and don't get ahead of yourself. That's how you get behind, in my opinion. So, looking to forward going and playing the Packers and seeing what we have."
On what is going through his mind after waiting years for this opportunity:
"One day at a time. That's all I keep telling myself. That's the only way I've learned up to this point; that's what's great about sitting. If you try to get ahead and you start looking at the year, your career, where we're going be in week eight, you just get caught up in it and it hinders you. So, my big deal this year is to just take it one game at time, one play at a time and one practice at a time, which is what I'm about to go do."
On keeping cool even though he is fired up inside:
"Yeah, I call it like a duck on the water. Up above, it's always smooth, but inside you're churning and I'm as amped and ready as anybody. I have to control my emotions just like anybody else. But being a quarterback and your teammates looking at you – anybody who gets looked at – you have to be able to just keep a steady hand. And so, that's whenever we play the best, when I play the best, and that's the way that I train myself to play."
On the challenges with having a lot of excitement due to having a young roster:
"We have a lot of energy. That's never going to be an issue with us. It's a lot of first times for a lot of guys, and especially us as an entire group. I think our big thing is going to be calming everybody down, making sure we execute, and we stick to the details that we worked on all week long, and that starts today. Practice will have a lot of energy today, as well, and it'll be the leaders job to kind of calm things down and make sure we play within ourselves."
On the importance of getting C Jamaal Jackson back:
"It's very important. Jamaal's a key ingredient to our offense. He's kind of a stronghold in there. He's an intelligent guy, and him and I are clicking on all phases. There are no issues there."
On the offensive line not playing together all preseason and playing behind it:
"Hopefully today. There's no room for error, so we'll work our tails off, make sure preparation-wise we're there. Get the extra work needed throughout the week, and the chemistry will be there. I have no issues, no worries about it."
On the standouts on the Packers defense:
"Collectively, they are pretty solid all the way around. They give you a lot of different looks. They ended up the year on a strong run defensively. (Packers CB) Charles Woodson's always been a great player, I think all around the secondary they're pretty savvy, so we have our work cut out for us, but we're talented too, but like I said, I look forward to putting it on the field."
On the Green Bay secondary:
"They're solid and obviously have some Pro Bowl players there. They have a lot of playmakers and they have some young kids that are going to play also. So, it's going to be a challenge for us and we look forward to going out there and answering the test."
On getting Celek and Avant involved in the middle of the field is important:
"Yeah, it's very important. They have good corners, so we're looking forward to getting them going in the middle of the field, anywhere on the field and they're key ingredients to our offense. I think that's the best thing about our offense is that it can be anybody's game at any time and we have the talent at every position to take over. So, everybody will get their shot."
On remembering his first game at the University of Houston:
"Yeah, sure do. That was a good one. We got after them pretty good and we executed well. So, those are experiences that I lean back on all the time, and that's definitely one of them."
On tempering his and the fans expectations:
"I have the blinders on anyway. I just try to focus in on what we do here and try not to listen to them too much. I understand what you're saying, but that's where we want to go. Those are the expectations. Although, it may not happen right away, we're going to go through some rough patches, that's our expectation. So, we're on the same boat as what other people are thinking."
On being prepared for some disappointment:
"Yeah, I mean you have to play those scenarios out in your head because they're going to be there. But, I'm thinking positively and just dealing with them upfront and trustworthy and taking the blame for what happens is the best way I've learned to do it. And then you just forget about it, move on, and go make something positive out of it."
On his household helped prepare him for the NFL:
"Well, like I've said before is when my Dad taught me that all eyes were on me whenever I was 10 years old, that meant a lot to me, that there were varsity kids looking at me and how I was handling myself. So, now that I'm in a bigger situation it's somewhat similar. Like I said, you have to be ready to keep a steady hand in a pressure situation. All those experiences I lean back on."
On his father being the biggest influence in his life:
"Absolutely, yeah. I was with him day in and day out in the locker room. He instilled those things in me from a young age, so it's never been a change as I've gotten older and gone through the different levels."