Reid Talks Red Zone, Injuries, McNabb and More
By Lance Epstein
A day after the Eagles demolished the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-3, head coach Andy Reid met the media to discuss a variety of topics.
One of the most interesting topics that Reid discussed and will be forced to go into great detail about over the next week is about his former quarterback Donovan McNabb returning to Philadelphia.
Reid understands McNabb’s legacy is with the Eagles organization and was thankful for all that he has done for the franchise. However, he knows it is just another game on the schedule that the Eagles must win.
Besides taking an ample amount of questions about his former quarterback, Reid talked about why the Eagles have been so successful in the red zone. Additionally, he updated the injury situation for tight end Brent Celek, who briefly left the game with an apparent wrist injury.
Another intriguing topic at Reid’s press conference was the linebacker situation. In particular, he answered questions about Akeem Jordan struggling at SAM linebacker and Jamar Chaney replacing Omar Gaither as the backup middle linebacker.
Here are Reid’s quotes from the press conference:
"(TE) Brent Celek has a wrist contusion and should be okay. (G/C) Nick Cole has a little bit of swelling in his knee and we're going to work to get that out of there and probably rest him a little bit next week. We'll just see how things go here in the next couple days. (DE) Brandon Graham has a bit of an ankle sprain, so he had to come out of the game for a couple plays."
"Obviously, it was good to win the football game. That's the most important thing, there. As we play them, all games, all wins are too hard to get not to enjoy them. So, players and coaches get to enjoy it for a little bit, and then we move on to the Washington Redskins. But, defensively I thought we played well. Really in all phases defensively I thought we played well. From the defensive line, I think it starts there, and then it goes from that point. But, I thought our defensive line came out and were very, very aggressive. They brought a lot of attitude to that side of the football. And I thought (DT) Mike Patterson had one of his better games that he's had since he's been a Philadelphia Eagle; I thought he played very well, as did (DE) Trent Cole and the rest of the guys. (DT) Trevor (Laws) had a lot of snaps out there and played well. (DE) Juqua Parker got another sack and played well. So, all-in-all I thought it was good. It was good to get (DE) Darryl Tapp involved in the game plan. I thought he stepped up and played well also. The linebackers flew around and made plays. And I think you saw (LB) Akeem Jordan; I thought that was one of his better games that he's had since he's been here. He was all over the place and getting his hands on balls and made a lot of tackles. And then secondary wise, I thought our secondary did a good job, they played aggressive on receivers. They were able to get their hands on the ball. There are a couple that we'd like to have back that I thought could be interceptions, but the fact that we were there and they weren't catching the ball and we were deflecting it, I thought was important. Offensively, again our offensive line was thrown a lot of different looks. I thought they handled it well this week, which is obvious by the yardage that (QB) Michael Vick had and the game that he had. He obviously can't do that by himself nor can the run game go like it did, and (RB) LeSean McCoy and Michael have the success they have, without the line playing well. But, I thought Michael did some very good things both in the pocket and outside the pocket. We moved him around a little bit; I thought he handled that well and made some good decisions. He threw the deep ball well with lots of accuracy. With all that said and done, we also, I thought, played well in the red zone and on third down. He was presented with a lot of third and long situations and I thought he played well in those and made the right decisions, there. And on top of that, he has a lot of room to improve. There are a lot of things he can continue to work on, as all the guys can. (RBs) LeSean McCoy and Mike Bell, I thought they ran hard. (FB) Owen Schmitt got in there and he was banging it around a little bit from the fullback position and I thought he caught the ball well; he had a couple of big catches for us on third downs. And then the wide receivers made some big plays. They had a very good game along with the tight ends. Special teams did well with the exception of the five penalties. We can't have those penalties. They are absolutely unnecessary concentration penalties and effort penalties. You have to eliminate them. And it's not for a lack of not trying, there were a few there that were just mental lapse penalties that we have to take care of. The coordinators and the coaches, I thought, did a good job putting the game plans together in all phases. And again, we have plenty of room to improve, but it's a step forward and we have to make sure that we build on it. We have a heck of a football team coming in here this next weekend, so we know we have to be ready for a big game."
On Redskins QB Donovan McNabb comes back to play at Lincoln Financial Field:
"Well, listen, I think the world of Donovan. And the legacy that he left here will be just that, a legacy that lasts forever. He did phenomenal things for this organization, and that's not forgotten. But at the same time, he wants to beat the Eagles, and we want to beat the Redskins, so there's that side of it that you have to deal with. But we all, from (Eagles owner) Jeffrey Lurie on down, here, we all have a special place for Donovan in our hearts."
On gameplanning for a player that has played for the Eagles for eleven years:
"Well, it's a different scheme that he's running now, and he's being asked to do different things. So, it's different from that standpoint. Other than that, you just look at the tape and you go about going after him like you do other quarterbacks and game planning. The one thing he can still do is he's big and he's strong in the pocket and he's not the easiest guy to bring down because he can still run. You have to make sure you take that into consideration. And his arm hasn't gotten any weaker; he can still sling the football and he has guys that can go get it."
On watching film or games of McNabb:
"Yeah. I've watched film. I've done both, yeah."
On McNabb doing anything different besides for the scheme his new scheme:
"Well, there's not much there. I mean, he's still doing the things I just mentioned. He's asked to do a few more roll-out, naked type plays, then maybe what he did here, but he's very good at those. I know it didn't turn out the way they wanted it yesterday, but he still threw for a lot of yards and he can still sling it."
On McNabb's familiarity with the Eagles will affect the game and gameplanning:
"Well, I'm sure he'll talk to his coaches about our defense. He knows all the guys, for the most part, with the exception of the rookies. So, I'm sure he'll help with that scouting report with the players, but their coaches will probably end up going back and kind of mixing what he tells them and with what they see on tape and come up with what they think is best against us. But, that's probably what I see."
On similarities/differences between Vick and McNabb:
"Listen, I'm not going there. I think both of them are tremendous and playing very well right now, so I'm not going to get into comparisons. I never do that and I'm not going to start right now."
On talking with McNabb since he was traded:
"Well, it's illegal to do that. I mean, I can't do that by the rules of the National Football League."
On a different feeling with the McNabb game finally arriving:
"No. You know it really doesn't. It's the Redskins and they have a good quarterback. And they have a great head football coach Mike Shanahan, and so on. So, they have a few changes there. But, it's one of those NFC East deals, so that's probably it number one."
On emotion on game day:
"You know what, there's really no time, there's no time for that. I have a lot of other things I have to take care of and it won't be one of those types of things."
On McNabb’s return to Philadelphia impacts the team and their preparation:
"Listen, you can't devote all your time into one person in this profession and in this sport. It's a team sport. It's not a great grudge-match sport, or any of that, that's not what it's about. It's about going through the process, exhausting that process of all the situations and the personnel that you're going to play against, and that takes all your time if you do it the right way, and you don't just focus in on one guy. That's not how this thing works. So, that's what we're going to do; we're going to go in and we're focusing in on the Washington Redskins, number one, and Donovan's a big part of their offense, I mean we know that. I mean, he's a very important part of their offense, but we have to study what they're doing with him and how he's doing certain things, and then build our game plan, then go work on it in practice to execute."
On the Eagles fans and how they will welcome Mcnabb back to town:
"Listen, I don't know. I don't know that. He is a Redskin and they don't get the best acceptance in our stadium there. But, I don't know that. I don't know that."
On the players being focused with the circus like atmosphere that will be here this week:
"Listen, it will be a little crazy. It's always crazy when the NFC East teams come here. So, I'm sure they'll be even a little crazier, but listen, I don't hear a lot of that. I have the headsets on and I'm focused in on the game, but I do know the louder the better. I do know that, and that's why I welcome people in. You know, our fans are a little crazy. We're probably on the 'A-List' in the National Football League and I love that part of it. When they put all that green stuff on and dress crazy and all, I like that. So, I welcome the Redskins into that."
On the players been even keeled and not being too hyped up entering the game:
"Well, they have to focus in on the game. They have to focus in on the Redskins, and that's what they have to do. So, that's the key."
On specific reason that allows Vick to be productive in the red zone:
"Well, he's being very decisive right now in his decision making. And then he has that threat of the run. And then we're also able to run the ball a little bit better, from the running backs standpoint, so that puts a little bit of pressure on defenses."
On Vick's deep ball changing the way he envisioned the offense being this year:
"Not necessarily. I mean, they're the same plays we had in when (QB) Kevin Kolb was in, so I would say no. I mean, Kevin throws a good deep ball, so I would say no on that."
On better accuracy in Vick's deep ball compared to when he was playing for Atlanta:
"Well, I think if he hasn't mentioned it to you he probably will, you know about his study habits. I mean, he's really cranked down on those and we have to kind of kick him out of the building here. He's here all the time and that's a good thing. I don't know if that's the way it was always in his career. And then, two, he has some pretty good receivers there to throw to. I'm not saying he didn't in Atlanta, but I'm saying here he has some pretty good receivers that know that game and he can put it out there and they can go get it."
On Vick's off-balance and one-footed throw to WR DeSean Jackson was pure instinct:
"Again, you know it was man coverage, they blitzed, and so we had a good matchup there, DeSean on their guy. And DeSean did a nice job on that; Michael just kind of put it up and said 'hey, you go get this. I'm giving you an opportunity,' and you saw where DeSean slowed down. First of all, he got on top of the guy – the corner – and then he slowed down, and then kind of took a couple steps forward to make that catch and use his body, put his body in between the ball and his defender. And then, Michael showed a lot of trust in that, that DeSean would work that out. So, I think that's why I say it when he has a receiver here that kind of understands that type of game."
On the big plays happening being due to the Eagles personnel or team’s blitzing Vick:
"Well, listen, he's completing the ball and I have to give credit to (offensive coordinator) Marty Mornhinweg and the offensive coaches for drawing these things up and then calling them. And then, normally those down-the-field throws, the big plays, you need a little bit of time. So that's when the offensive line come into effect, so they've done a good job. And then Michael throws a nice, deep ball and he has guys that can go get it."
On Vick’s accuracy being better due to throwing the ball more than he did in Atlanta:
"Yeah, I don't know exactly how they Atlanta set their practices up. I mean, I don't know that. I know he's worked very hard at, each quarterback, you build a platform that you have to throw off of and you want make that as consistent as you can. If you move three feet to the left in the pocket, or three feet to the left you still want, in his case, your right shoulder in the same position, your knees bent the right way, and you want to be able to step into the throw, and so on. So, he's worked very hard on that, all the way from the feet to the arms and the shoulders. And what that does is that increases your accuracy and consistency. So, when he tells you he's worked a lot in the pocket, those are the small things that he's really focused on and concentrated on. Listen, I've mentioned this before that I'm not big on saying he's a pocket thrower, I just want him to take the offense and put his personality and abilities to it, and then that creates the Michael Vick part of this offense, just like Donovan did with his skill and ability. And Brett Favre, Joe Montana, all the guys that have been in this offense has done it, they're all different, and you don't want to stifle their abilities and personality. But, he's worked very hard at that – a consistent platform to throw from."
On the defining moment that allowed Vick to get to where he is today in a short period of time:
"Well, really I mentioned this during preseason. We had a chance to go back and watch the New York Jets tape from last year, and he was stumbling all over the place and falling, and had a hard time controlling the football and his legs, and so on. So you look at the leap that he's made from that point, even into this training camp was huge. Then I thought this camp was just a matter of him getting game reps, and he had worked through it. He had the game where he had a couple of picks in the preseason and you know he'll learn from it, he'll move on, and so he did that and really was just a matter of getting him more game experience."
On the concern about Vick being 30 years old:
"Well, yeah. There are a couple of those, like the one he had the other day where he tried to take on their whole secondary on the run. I'll take two less yards to keep him healthy and he knows that, but, getting that across to him, he's a pretty competitive guy, so at times I do hold my breath there. "
On G Reggie Wells starting vs. the Redskins:
"Well, what I'm going to do is a little bit of what I did last week, right now with Nick and just back off him a little bit and see if we can't get his knee calmed down just a little bit. And then Ill take it from there. It will be a day-to-day thing, Nick's not out. He's going to be out of practice probably Wednesday there, but we'll see."
On Wells performance:
"Yeah, he did okay. He's still getting used to kind of what we do. So, he did okay."
On LB Akeem Jordan's at SAM linebacker earlier this season:
"Sometimes you over-think a little bit when you first get in there and you want to be perfect and that, as opposed to just cutting it loose, playing downhill football, and attacking, and I think that's what he did in this game. Listen, nobody plays the perfect game. That's just not how this sport works; you get up and you cut it loose and you practice, practice, practice, and get all that taken care of in practice, and when you go out the game, you go out and you play. And you cut it loose and it should be more natural than the whole thing in process."
On LB Omar Gaither being inactive means that rookie LB Jamar Chaney is the backup at middle linebacker:
"Well, Chaney just had a chance to get on the field the week before on special teams and did a nice job with it. And he's been picking up the offense, but his special teams play was pretty good the week before and it ended up being good this week. So, I decided to go with him."
On Chaney being the backup middle linebacker:
"Well, it just depends on what route we want to go. So, in that game, yeah he was the backup middle linebacker."
On FB Owen Schmitt’s performance:
"Now remember, he was with former Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren's group for two years, so he didn't have to pick up a bunch of new terminology here; he was familiar with it, and so it made the transition a little bit easier. He's a big, tough kid that can catch the ball a little bit and blocks okay, so I mean, he fit in okay."