Philadelphia Eagles News

Game Vs. Redskins: Head Coach Jim Zorn

On what went through his mind and how he turned things around after falling behind 14-0: "Well, I didn't think we had to turn anything around although I looked at the score and we were a little bit shocked just because we didn't do anything. They came out with an incredible drive and they mixed it up, they kept us off balance, and put it away. And then with the return, you know, sometimes things like that happen. I'll tell you what our players did though was they stayed poised. We didn't try to grab bag and then change our whole game plan. I think we just stayed with what we had and then we got the first field goal. The thing that I started chanting, well not chanting, but saying on the sideline was, "just one score at a time. That was number one. Now we just have to work on the second one." However we were going to get it. And I think it was frustrating that we weren't finishing drives again. But again, I think it is a credit to our football team, they stayed poised, they ran the plays called, and they played hard."

On what the offense did better to come back: "When you play a defense like that its not…they're a very difficult defense to play. The thing that we did was we didn't change our game plan because they had shut us down early. So, it wasn't that we did things different, we just continued on with our game plan and hung in there. What we said coming into a game like this is, "this defense is so good, it can make you look really bad." Which they did. They batted balls down, they completely shut us down, they got after us with the blitz and all I can say is we truly just stayed poised. Our quarterback didn't get flustered because of the pressure that was on him. Our receivers kept fighting to run the disciplined routes. And then it was a guessing game with (Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Johnson all day. He's so good at changing things up. He's so good at not giving you what you want but running what he wants and he really put his players in good positions to make plays at different times in the game. It wasn't all the time because we did get to move the ball but man, it was tough."

On what the 23 unanswered points say about the resiliency of his team: "I just think that there are veteran players who understand that it's a long game. It's not just a quick game so if you continue to look at the scoreboard you can get kind of panicy or down on yourselves. I think that has been the case for our football team. It's not getting down on ourselves because of the score. Just go out the next drive and try to do better. That's been the signature of our team."

On the thought behind the option pass from Antwaan Randle El to Chris Cooley: "I didn't say I want to try it in the red zone, it's a red zone play and at that particular time it was one of our calls. And it was pretty awesome, it really was. It was fun to watch, you know. It was fun to watch."

On how much the team practiced that play: "You know how many times we practiced that play? Once. That's why with red zone packages it's hard because you can't (script) those things and work on them all week like with first and second down stuff. You know, one time and that's why we talk about it, we talk about it, we talk about it, you get to see it once but you have to be a veteran player to be able to execute it and that's what the difference was on those kind of plays - the execution because we have veteran players running the show."

On the successful running of the two-minute drill going into the half: "That was really fun. It was fun because our players believe that they can move the ball and did. It gives you a lift coming in at the end of that first half. We did several things. You actually executed your two minute drill, you put a score on the board that got you closer, and then we were getting the ball coming out at halftime. It's kind of a lift coming in."

On what the thought process was on the 4th and 1 call that ran out the clock: "I had to really put out of my mind what just happened on 3rd and one which was really irritating. On that play I thought we were going to get the first down and it was going to be over, then I had to call time out and get my composure back. It wasn't really anybody's fault. I tried something that we didn't respond well to and so I paid the price on that third down call. And then the fourth down call, I'm telling you, it was all (RB) Clinton Portis. He called the play. I called the formation and how I wanted it set up but he called the play and as he ran the play he willed his way for the first down. I had a great view of his grit and the offensive linemen's grit on that play and he made it. He called it and he ran it and he got it. And that was a huge, huge play in the football game."

On the second straight solid performance from Portis against an NFC East opponent: "Clinton Portis would say this, "he doesn't do all that running by himself." I mean, our offensive line, they were coming off the ball. They really did a nice job of communicating and it wasn't as though they were playing a very soft defense either. They were coming after it and so we maintained the line of scrimmage. Nobody popped through free, no whiffs if you will, where they could just pound or hit him and once he got to the line of scrimmage he does a really nice job of slicing through defensive lines and that's what he did. He was a slicer and a dicer this football game because coming into this game, you fear them because they've only been giving up 53 yards of rushing per game and that's tough."

On the differences of coaching in the NFC East compared to the other divisions he's coached in: "This is our division and honestly I recognize the same type of feelings in Seattle for the past seven years we've been playing in these NFC West games. They're really battles, you know. This is not a soft division. This is a very tough division and I think I would say it's the toughest division in football and we're in it and we are certainly not the overriding favorites in this division either. We were just very fortunate to be where we are at. You count every win a blessing when you can get it against these teams because they are very good. These teams are not bad teams, these are really good teams that we are competing against. We just happen to be coming out on the positive end of the score."

On the play of Jason Campbell: "He's really improved himself as he's gone along here. Now each quarterback today, I think you saw two outstanding QB's. You saw two fighters, guys who really tried to hang in there and Jason, when he needed to, he did stay poised because it was a hard game to know where they were coming from and how to create a protection for us with some of their blitzes and their blitz package. He did a nice job. He got rid of the ball in a couple of hot situations where we didn't have the protection but he maintained his poise and got the ball along."

On what the Eagles defense did that made it hard to get the ball to Santana Moss: "Whenever we had him on the outside they were rolling up their corner and playing a safety over the top. Whenever we had him inside they were either doubling him with a bracket situation or blitzing so hard and so fast that we didn't have time for a route to develop. Now, we looked for him and we had plays called for him but they just decided, and a team can do this, they just decided that they were going to take him out. I found it very frustrating for me because I wanted some other stuff that Santana could have participated in on a play but I wasn't sure of our protection either. Either based on the type of formation or the type of protection scheme we had I just shied away because they can really take things away from you and just stomp, just pound their hands down and say, "You will not do this." So that made it kind of difficult with Santana today."

On what they defense was able to do to stop the Eagles offense: "(QB) Donovan (McNabb) is so good and we tried to put a little pressure on him which we did and then our DB's just came up with a couple of good hits and made him check the ball down. He threw a lot of balls underneath and they are a big play offense and I think having them check the ball down…(RB) (Brian) Westbrook is so dangerous. The screens that they ran got yardage. They ran a couple of wide routes to him got yardage and stuff but we didn't give up that big play. You got to tag a guy down when he's down. We jumped over him to allow him to get up and run for 30 yards. That was a rookie, coming from college, he thought ok he's down. I don't want to hit him and all we have to do is tag that receiver but we didn't tag him either. I think our defense was outstanding, making them always go the long field. Part of the difference in the game no question."

On what reserve players made a big impact, filling in for a starter: "(MLB) H.B. Blades had to come in and we had (DE) Erasmus James up this game and we didn't hit Donovan enough but we did mix our defensive line group enough. I thought a couple players who stood out to me were obviously (MLB) London Fletcher because he had to go through heroics to just eek out a couple of tackles that could have been big, big gains. I saw (RCB) Carlos (Rogers) put the wood to one of their receivers and make him wish he wouldn't have come over the middle. Those were outstanding plays. (FS) LaRon Landry did a really nice job disguising coverage today. Those were the kinds of things that I saw and I really saw an active rookie again in (SS) Chris Horton. Especially down there on a goal line keeping them out, knifing in to get Westbrook on that, I don't know if it was a second down or third down play. Just a great, great football play."

On why he thinks so much is working so early: "I think it's the way our guys work and practice. They're earning their way. We're not the best team. We have a good team and we are proving that. They just really work hard and they understand what we are trying to say. We have a really good teaching staff here in the assistant coaches that are actually teaching techniques. I think our motto goes "Finish your Assignment with Technique." F.A.T. if you will and that's kind of the things that I think are going on that are creating the opportunities for us. We are hanging in there right to the end."

On what winning different ways does for a football team: "What we decide is to try to play in the present. We couldn't worry about the 14-0. We had to get the first score. We couldn't worry about how dominate they were being over us. We had to just maintain our poise. When you have the chance to stop them, stop them. When you have the chance to complete the pass, complete it. Those were the things we're more concerned about then thinking about the overall look of this game. I mean, it must of looked frightening to everybody 14-0 early in that football game."

On whether he knew from early on that this would be a Chris Cooley day since they doubled Santana: "Not really, no. No, not really. Because the whole day I was trying to ... I was flipping my game plan all game long, just looking for that nugget and as much as we worked at it. What he did was brought coverage from others. It's one of those deals where it's not that we sacrificed him because we tried to get him the ball but he drew attention. He's so dangerous. He drew attention and you ask him I bet he didn't care because he had to revert to blocking. If he wasn't going to get it he had to block. He concentrated the whole game as well. He was into it the whole day, he never complained one time on the sideline that, "Hey, you're not getting me the ball." I've seen that before on certain teams and he did not do that. He's a real pro and at some point down the road I bet he catches another pass."

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