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Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

Injury Report: "(CB) Lito Sheppard has a strained groin, and if we had a practice today, he wouldn't be able to practice. He probably won't be able to practice on Wednesday. (G) Shawn Andrews has the low back problem and had the surgery. He is being reevaluated today, and I'll think they'll determine when he can travel and when that travel time will be. (TE) L.J. Smith is getting better with the concussion. Really, the rest of the guys should be able to practice unless there is some form of a setback, but as of today, they should be ready to go. (WR) Jason Avant would be the other one who didn't play yesterday with a strained trap, and again, he should be ready to go come Wednesday."

Opening Remarks: "It was good to get the win, in particular, bouncing back after a slow start I thought on both sides of the ball, at least for one play there on defense. Obviously, there are plenty of things that we can work on and get better at, but it was good to see the guys bounce back, not show any panic, and just play good solid football after that. I really thought that the coordinators had good gameplans all the way around. Defensively, after the first touchdown on the first play that their offense had the football, to be able to come back and make the punter punt 11 consecutive times, that's quite a tribute to (defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) and then the players. It starts up front with the defensive line. I could go all the way through the defense. Every guy had a play within the day there, within the game.

"I just thought they flew around and collectively played great defensive football. Offensively, again, there were people that made some plays. I'll pick (G) Todd (Herremans) out because that doesn't happen very often where an offensive lineman scores a touchdown. I'm not sure that I remember the last one that happened in the NFL, but that doesn't happen very often and it was good to see him do that. In particular, he dislocated a finger there and was pretty sore and had his hands taped up and still made the grab. Then, I thought the offensive line did a nice job protecting (QB) Donovan (McNabb). Again, we started slow offensively, but I thought as the game went on, the guys did a nice job of protecting him. (TE Brent) Celek, obviously, had a big day, and again, that doesn't happen very often. L.J. attracts so much attention that the obvious question is, why isn't L.J. getting the same number of yards, but he attracts so much attention and Celek comes in and he's kind of an unknown guy, so there were times where they didn't do a great job of covering him. I'm not taking anything away from him because I thought that he played his heart out, and when he did have man-to-man situations, which he had three of those, he dominated there. He did a great job. I know what the obvious question is and it has nothing to do with L.J.'s play.

"It's just L.J. is one of those guys that everybody talks about and the other team is very aware of, and they make sure that they either put one guy on him at all times or two guys. Again, (QB) Donovan (McNabb) spread the ball around. There were some throws there early that he would like to have back, but he came back and I just thought that he put a heck of a game together. Whatever the streak was there that he had going with consecutive throws, that was a nice job by him, the receivers and the offensive line. Then, (RB) Brian Westbrook, some games you are going to have like that where the yards are hard to get. I thought he just cranked it up. I thought he ran exceptionally hard inside. They were playing wide ends and tried not to let him get outside, and I thought he had some very hard yards during that game and then caught the ball and had some big plays in catching the football for us. (K) David Akers, it was good to see David crank out a few field goals there. I'd rather us score touchdowns, but if that doesn't happen, it sure is a secure feeling to be able to bring in your kicker and have him drill those field goals."

On how the team started fast and ended slow in the beginning of the season and how they are starting slow and finishing strong now and whether he has an idea of why the team has been so streaky: "I think that as you look around the league, I think that's the way it is in the NFL in general. You are playing against some good defenses and things are going to happen. Obviously, we strive for perfection, and we don't have a lot of patience as coaches or players if things aren't clicking. But, the thing you have to do is keep firing and keep blocking and running hard and catching the football and doing the important things. Things work in cycles. That's how it goes. Again, do we want to do better? Absolutely. Do we want to start faster? Absolutely. But, that's how that goes. One of the positives I think that you take out of that game is the penalties. I thought it was very important; we had taken some big plays away from ourselves the week before, and really, in the last few games. And, I thought we did a nice job in the penalty category really until the end of the game when we had the horse collar there, which I thought was positive."

On McNabb having a bit of an erratic arm to start off the game and what they can do to change that: "That's just how things work and it's not all him. Some are, some aren't. It's just how things work out. You have to work through it. If things don't start out good, then you have to keep doing the things I mentioned here."

On what improvements he would like to see from the team now that they have reached the halfway point in the season: "There are plenty of things to get better on; consistency and so on. I like the attitude of our football team. I think that they are getting better every week, which is important. It's important that we continue to do that. We have a great team coming in here (in the Giants). It should just be a heck of an atmosphere for a football game, and we just have to keep taking care of business on our side and we'll be fine."

On having a 5-3 record at the halfway point: "We always talk about the halfway point and you always feel like if you're within striking distance at the halfway point, then you have a chance down the stretch there. The parity in the league is crazy right now. You have the Giants out there and the Titans out there and they have pretty good records. Then, you guys know the other ones, but those are the ones that jump out at you. Everybody else is kind of bunched up there within a game of each other, so you have to keep pushing."

On whether he feels like they are in a good position going into the game this weekend: "This is good. It's good to be home. I complimented our fans after our game yesterday, and you come back and you look at the film and really the seats are empty there except for the Eagles fans at the end of the game, and you see these hands, people jumping up and down in the fourth quarter and it's an amazing thing to watch. There might have been 20,000 out there and you triple that (at home) and it'll be exciting."

On how he plans to achieve a balance of getting the players hyped for the game Sunday but still maintaining focus: "You bank on your veteran leadership. I think you should be excited. It's a rival game, two good football teams playing each other. That's exciting, but at the same time you also have to understand that you have to take care of business and go from point A to point Z. You have to get through Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and take care of business there, and really focus in on that, and then, you have an opportunity to play the game."

On why his teams generally catch their stride later in the season: "I have no idea. I had no idea about that stat other than one game at a time. I don't know that. I hope that stat holds true and the guys just keep playing and the coaches keep coaching and things keep working out alright."

On whether Smith will be the starting tight end once he returns to the field: "Yeah. Absolutely. I'm happy to have three good tight ends. You saw (TE Matt) Schobel step in, he had two catches, too. Don hit like ten different receivers, and so, that's such a positive thing. L.J. is a Pro Bowl player. People pay a lot of attention to him because of that. Celek, he sure stepped up and played at that level too. That's a great situation to have. L.J.'s a starter when he comes back, and hopefully it works out for him with his head (concussion). He's making progress, just getting him back in there. We'll see come Wednesday, but he's getting ready."

On whether Celek will get more attention from defenses now: "I'm sure they'll pay closer attention now. That was a pretty impressive game."

On how WR Reggie Brown played: "I thought Reggie did a nice job. He did a great job pulling out on that one (on the touchdown). First of all, he set it up beautifully, the double-move play that he had. He set that thing up beautiful, and the guy grabbed his leg and he kicked out of it and did a heck of a job. He played quite a little bit. He had a lot of the first down plays from late second quarter on, so he did a nice job."

On whether Andrews is back from California: "He's being evaluated today. He's still out there. The doctor that did his surgery is evaluating him today, and we'll see about the travel schedule after that."

On DE Darren Howard and the kind of season he is having and how he's gotten to this point: "First of all, Darren has been a great player in this league, and for whatever reason it didn't quite work out the way he wanted it early here. But, the son-of-a-gun, he went home this offseason and trained like no other, he dropped a little bit of weight and you could just see in the mini camps when he came back that things were going to work out for him. He's so explosive off the ball, and if you can ever use an example of 'hard work pays off,' use him as that example. He deserves everything that he is getting here. He's a very, very intelligent guy; extremely intelligent guy, and he's playing very well right now."

On whether he is surprised to see that energy in Howard after last season: "More than that. He was discouraged because he hadn't been starting and very easily could have hung his head and said, 'You know what I'm late in my career, my time is over, I don't have a place here, a spot on this team,' and whatever else goes through your mind. He very easily could have done that, but he didn't do that. He did just the opposite and said, 'Listen, I'm going to find my niche on this team. I'm going to work like crazy to get myself back to being the best I can be,' and his attitude had been phenomenal. He's handled this whole thing so well, and I'm very happy to see that it's paying off for him."

On whether it is gratifying to see how well Howard is doing: "Sure. Absolutely. (Rams head coach) Jim Haslett had told me that about him a long time ago (when he was with the Saints), and we had looked at Darren a couple of different times. He just said, hey this guy, he's a phenomenal worker and a good, good person. And, a guy that I had coached with for a number of years at the college level was his coach in college and said the same thing, so it's good to see good things happen to good people."

On the versatility of the Eagles offense: "I think it's important. I think they obviously had a little plan to try to bang us around on the outside and do some things to take our receivers out of the game, in particular, our Z receiver and tried to play physical with us out there and it opened up different avenues, and then, take away the run game in certain personnel groups. It was good to see the other guys and Donovan spread the ball around to other guys and let guys make plays."

On whether he has had a chance to break down the Giants-Cowboys game film yet: "I have not, no."

On why the defense has allowed big plays to happen early on in games: "I know each one, why it happened. We have to do a better job there. That's more individual situation probably. We're trying to be aggressive and it came back to get us a little bit, but I'll always take those aggressive ones over the passive ones."

On what his general impression is of the Giants this year: "I haven't seen the Cowboys game, but I've seen the other games. I think they are as good as they've ever been. They are playing very well as a team both offensively and defensively. You would think that their defense lost a little bit with the retirement of (DE) Michael (Strahan) and the injuries, primarily (DE) Osi (Umenyiora), but I don't see that. I see other guys have stepped up. (Giants head coach) Tom (Coughlin) has moved a couple of people around with (Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) Spags, and they've played well, so it should lend to a very good football game."

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