Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

Injury Report: "(RT Jon) Runyan and (RB Brian) Westbrook will not practice today. (WR Jason) Avant will do some things. (Avant) went through the walkthrough. Basically, they all went through the walkthrough. Avant will go through the practice."

Opening Remarks: "We look forward to going through the challenge of going out to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Obviously it's the NFC Championship Game, and it should be a great atmosphere for a football game – loud, high energy, with two good football teams playing each other. (Arizona) right now is as hot as anybody in the National Football League. They have just come off of two huge victories in which every phase of the game they played well. (Arizona) did a nice job of coaching and a nice job playing. We look forward to going through this process of today, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, getting ourselves ready to play a very good football team."

On the state of the team physically after two physical playoff games:"They seem high-spirited right now. They came in and took care of business the last couple of days in the training room. Everyone is banged up. Everyone that is still playing has a sore body. It's nothing different than what the Cardinals are going through or the Steelers or the Ravens. But the mind takes over, and they're all very excited to be in this position."

On the physical health of RG Shawn Andrews: "He's improving, and we'll just see how he does. He'll take a few more sets out there than he did last week, and we'll see how he feels."

On whether there is a chance Andrews could dress for the NFC Championship Game: "We'll see. Probably not, but we'll see."

On the play of WR Jason Avant: "Jason has done a nice job for us as our inside slot receiver. He's got a nice feel for it, and he's played very well. He should be fine for the game."

On his philosophy of working the team hard in training camp, but easing up on practices as the season progresses: "(Former Green Bay head coach) Mike Holmgren did a good job of managing things, and there were times when he would back off and give the guys an opportunity to have a little shorter practice as the season went along. I kind of just took it from there. I think you kind of have to have a feel for your group (of players) and what you're dealing with. You have to be able to observe where your guys are at and know them well enough to see where they are at physically."

On the play of the Eagles defense: "They are playing very well. I'm proud of the way they're playing. I will say that this challenge this week between (Arizona's) run and the passing game will be one of their biggest challenges of the year. We have to make sure that they go through the process here that they will go through the next few days."

On how he emphasizes to the team how good Arizona is currently playing:"When you put on their last two games, you see a team dominate – unless you can't see. We have to be very aware of how well they're playing right now. That whole thing with the last time we played them, you're asking a team to come off of a huge game against the Giants and travel on Thanksgiving weekend, play on Thursday, travel on a Wednesday, and have the holiday game on top of that."

On whether Arizona QB Kurt Warner looks different now than he did when he was younger: "You have to clarify that, because he was pretty good. You're talking about the MVP of the league. That's how he's playing right now. Is he playing at that same high level that he played at when he was with the Rams? Absolutely, that's where he's at right now."

On whether Warner has been playing any differently than he has in the past: "It doesn't look like he has. He's getting the ball out on time and he's throwing accurate. When he has to move, he actually gets out there and runs. He's got good people out there behind him and in front of him, and to his right and left. He's surrounded by a good crew."

On how much fun Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is having in the playoff run: "I think he's having a good time. He enjoys playing the game, and he's playing very well right now."

On whether the city of Philadelphia is appreciative of what McNabb has accomplished in his career: "Absolutely."

On how the play of the Arizona defense has changed since the regular season game between the two teams on Thanksgiving: "They are blitzing their safety, and their linebackers are doing a phenomenal job. I think it starts with their front getting off of the football the way they do. 92 (DE Bertrand Berry), 90 (DT Darnell Dockett), 94 (DE Antonio Smith) - they all can rush the passer. Collectively that group is doing a great job. I think they have more confidence in their corners. (CB) Rod Hood did not play against us the last time, and he's playing. (CB Dominique) Rodgers-Cromartie has improved as the season went along and he's playing at a very high level right now. The better those guys play, the more I'm sure their coaches feel they can do schematically."

On whether Arizona's defensive changes will affect the Eagles offensive strategy: "We'll do what we do, and what we think is best. We won't change anything that we normally do or have been doing."

On the Arizona defense's timing of opponents' offensive snap counts: "They do a great job with that. Whatever indicators they have, the three players that I just named (DE Bertrand Berry, DT Darnell Dockett and DE Antonio Smith) get off of the football very quick. We'll do what we have to do there."

On how former Eagle starters have adapted to playing reduced roles: "They're good people, so they've handled it like pros, and when they've had opportunities to get in there, they've done a nice job. Whatever feelings they've had, they've put them aside and it's been all about the team. I've been very impressed with that."

On the importance of each player knowing and accepting their role on the team: "It's very important, and it shows the character of the player. This has nothing to do with them not wanting to be out on the field, or their competitiveness, or anything else. There's a group of them there that would love to play every snap, but they understand the situation and are willing to sacrifice for the football team."

On whether there is more pressure to win the NFC Championship Game than the Super Bowl: "They all have a certain amount of pressure. The one thing that you know going through the playoffs is that it is single-elimination. If you don't perform at your best level, you're going to be watching the next game. You understand that for each one of these (games), you have to prepare yourself right and put enough pressure on yourself to make sure that you get things taken care of on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so that you can go out and cut it loose on Sunday."

On what McNabb has done well in terms of managing the offense: "There are a lot of things that go into that – handling the calls, the checks, the clock, changing the cadence up. A bunch of things go into that, and he's doing very well with it."

On whether he is a superstitious person:"I'm not superstitious at all. I eat."

On whether he knows how the game is going to play out: "You don't know how any game is going to go. None of us can predict the future, and that's what makes (sports) such a great thing. You prepare like crazy to perform at the highest level you can. We're all human beings, and not everything is going to go perfect or as you planned. It's a challenge. We're going to prepare like crazy, then you cut it loose and give it your best shot. That's all we're going to go by."

On his first encounter with Kurt Warner when Warner was a rookie free agent in training camp with the Green Bay Packers: "We only had him through training camp. He had a big arm, and obviously that part hasn't changed. It was all new to him. He would be the first to tell you that he wasn't quite ready at that particular time, but what a great development has taken place over the years through the different leagues he's played in – NFL Europe, the Arena League, boxing groceries – the whole thing. It's an amazing story. You talk about a great person. He's a great person. He's 37 years old and he's loved every snap that he's had to perform in the National Football League."

On how he felt when Warner earned a job as quarterback with the St. Louis Rams: "I was happy for him for the kind of person that he is. It is a great story. That's the neat thing about sports. Sometimes somebody becomes great, when either he or the people around him didn't think he'd be great. He's that story."

On how Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is able to reach younger players: "He's tough, yet fair. He's very honest with the players. He's got grandkids that have kept him young, even though he looks old. He keeps his game fresh, and I think that's the thing the players like the most. He's always coming up with new stuff. He's been the best defensive coordinator in the National Football League, but he's always looking for new things. Those new things get everybody involved and put everybody into position so that they can have a little piece of the pie."

On his decision to grow a beard during the playoffs: "It wasn't a superstitious thing. It was something that (FS) Brian (Dawkins) asked me to do. If he would have asked me to stop eating, I'd be 120 pounds right now."

On how much fun he has had this season: "I haven't had a chance to reflect on it, but the games are enjoyable. Unfortunately in this business, you don't sit there and enjoy it more than a day. You cut it down to a few hours, and you're right back moving onto the next game. At the end of the season, wherever you end up, you can look back and enjoy the high points and so on."

On whether he would have grown a playoff beard if any other player besides Brian Dawkins had asked him to: "No, probably not. Donovan or Dawk, one of those two."

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