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Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

Opening Remarks:"All right. I'm fired up to be back and I know you guys are. The rest of the team is. We're excited to have the opportunity to come to Lehigh, and I'd like to thank the people here at Lehigh and our staff for putting things together on a short schedule. We've been very organized to this point, and things are running smooth. That's obviously a plus as we go forward here. Likewise, I know as well as you know, we're covering a lot of bases here with free agency, trades, contracts, all of those things. I don't want to divulge anything now, as we're in the process of that. A lot of those things that would take place during the offseason, during those periods, we're doing now. [Director of Football Media Services] Derek [Boyko] has filled you in on the draft picks and where we stand with that. That's been moving very smooth. [general manager] Howie Roseman and [president] Joe Banner have done a phenomenal job there, along with the agents, of working through the new rules and regulations.
"Likewise, as coaches, we've worked through some new rules and regulations that have come to us as soon as just a few minutes ago on practice and the way that things are expected to work there. I told you this before we left that we have every scenario covered, and it's been a smooth transition. The way I'm looking at the practices within the rules that we've been given and with the offseason the way it's gone, I'm going to use the first few days as ramp-up days to just get the guys back in the flow in a walkthrough manner and let the new coaches teach things they need to teach.
"Then, the coaches who've switched positions in [defensive coordinator and former offensive line coach] Juan's [Castillo] case, to introduce some of those things, we'll have a walkthrough tomorrow morning. We'll have a helmeted practice in the afternoon. It's a non-contact, no-padded practice. The following day, we'll do the same thing. We'll give them a little bit more time on the field in the morning, but it'll still be a walkthrough to get them back in the flow of things. Then, in the afternoon, we'll pick up the pace a little bit. These will be short, fast practices. The third day, we'll increase it even a little bit more. I'm still going to keep them out of the pads even though you'll read the rules and we'd be allowed to do that.
"Again, we're just making sure with the offseason the way it's been, that I have a good feel of the players and where they're at condition wise. The next day, which would end up being the fourth day, we'll put on the pads in the morning and have a walkthrough in the afternoon. We'll continue on with that schedule throughout the rest of camp up at Lehigh. Again, we're fired up and we are excited. It's great to have the NFL back flowing. I thought the players and administrators within the league headed up by the Commissioner, I thought they did a great job of putting this thing together and getting what's good for both sides. I think the players, the ones I talked to yesterday, were upbeat and positive. We had a bunch of them come in and work out, and they're ready to go. It's exciting times and we've missed it the last 140 days. None of us had a whole lot to do, and by this turnout here, it looks that way. I'm glad you guys are excited and we are, too."
On whether trading QB Kevin Kolb is still an option and if he will be asked to report tomorrow if a deal is not imminent:  "I can't get in to divulge all that. I'm not going into it, and I'm glad you guys are listening as well as you did before. That's a good thing. Free agency, trades, and any contract things, I'm staying away from. Right now, when you're normally in this thing with some sort of strategy to work through, I don't want to divulge anything. We're moving, the veteran players have this grace period for teams that start on Wednesday here just by travel, so there might be some guys who are conflicted by travel who don't make it."
On if Kolb would still be expected to show up if trade talks are still ongoing: "We'll just see how things go here."
On if wide receiver DeSean Jackson will be expected at camp on time: "Well, like I said, we'll see how things go."
On why the free agency period is off to a slow start and teams are holding off instead of acting quickly to sign free agents: "I think everyone is trying to make sure they have the rules and regulations down. So, you're trying to work within that. I've noticed that even with the draft picks. They're being cautious and making sure they have everything down. I'm talking about management and agents. That's what it is. You're working within a new cap. It's a new cap schedule, so you have to budget everything and make sure you have it right. This is the way it's going to be for the next few years here, and we're just being introduced to it. There are going to be some of those things that go on, and that's ok. It'll all work and it'll be very smooth as it goes on." *
On if the Eagles still plan on being aggressive during the free agency period: "We'll see how things go. We're sorting through all that. I can't sit here and divulge that. We're not there yet, and we'll find out here Friday. We'll see how things work out, and then we'll find out a few days after that, too. We're cramming a lot of things into a short period of time. I know you guys want to know it, and we're working through it. We'll find out when it happens. There are strategies involved in it that we try to put together. We've had a few days to think about it in the offseason and put some plans together on how we're going to attack it according to the scenarios that have been put together by the people in the league. Now, we're in that process of doing what we're doing, and I can't say a lot about that."
On if this will be a hard training camp despite the new regulations since the Eagles are traditionally known for having a hard-hitting camp: "The morning practices will be very similar, once we get into day three, of what we had before as far as time goes and format. I told you that on day three I was going to keep the pads off them in the morning. That format will be the same that we use on day four, and the same format we've used in the past. That part is going to be very physical and still be the same type of thing. This is a sport where you make contact. The afternoon practices where you have the 10/10/10's and special teams, you can't have that anymore. That's not how it works, it's the walkthrough period. You can do the walkthrough in the morning or the afternoon. The next practice is out of pads and you have to do a walkthrough just like we used to with our eight/eight on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the season. Players are fast pre-snap and then cautious after that.
On if special teams will suffer as a result: I'm making up for that in other areas with [Special Teams Coordinator] Bobby [April]. I've extended a couple of the special teams periods a little bit longer than we have before when we have the opportunity to go fast. We'll get Bobby caught up there and I think when it's all worked out, if you calculated the minutes, it's going to be equal and he'll have a good amount of time there."
On how much a star player is needed back at practice with the time lost in the offseason: "I'm not going to get into all that. Any player, and this is going to happen because we're starting now, with any free agent you have or whatever takes place down the road here, they're going to have to catch up. It doesn't matter if it's this year, last year, or year's past, it's one less day of getting better. The best we can, we're going to get everyone in here when we can get them in here and roll. We've got the majority of the team here, and that's the important thing. Like I said, Howie and Joe have done a phenomenal job with these draft picks because that's been a slow process to this point. They've really knocked out quite a few of them."
On how tough this offseason has been on the rookies without the rookie camps and mini-camps: "Well, it's going to be a catch up game for them. That's where your OTAs come in handy. It's equal opportunity all the way throughout the league. I'm not going to dwell on it, and we have a plan for that. We're going to go for it. I'm sure everyone else has their plan, and we have our ideas. I told you before that in that case and with new players coming in from other teams, it's going to test your teaching ability. As coaches, we made sure we went back and detailed things another inch so we get in there, there's not a lot of wasted words and time. We can get it to the players and make sure we give it to them to take these complex concepts and simplify them the best we can so that these guys can execute them quickly by the time they break the huddle and shout."
On his personal patience level with players who hold out of training camp: "It's all part of the game, and I understand that. Obviously, I want everybody here. I'm a coach, right? I want everyone here, but I'm also versatile and resourceful. So whatever works, I'm ready to roll. We've got the guys that are here and we're coaching the heck out of them." 
On whether he has talked to Jackson about his situation: "I've talked to all the guys. Yeah, I've talked to everybody. So he would be one of them that I have talked to. Obviously, I'm not going to talk about all that but I have talked to him."
On whether Jackson gave him any indication whether or not he would report tomorrow: "I'm not going to talk about all that."
On whether having a lot of turnover on the staff will make it harder to make up for missed time because of the lockout: "Well, what I think you're going to see there are a lot of similarities. Obviously [Defensive Coordinator] Juan [Castillo] has been around our defense. He's made some subtle changes but they're not things that our players aren't familiar with – the veteran players. So I don't think it's going to be the huge changes that have taken place. Juan's been here through the duration from the start since I've been here. And so, I think the players will be able to pick things up fine, I'm not worried about that. The new coaches, they have to teach their concepts. These next couple of days are going to give them a lot of individual time to kind of teach. And even if it's just taking a step that they want. If it's [offensive line coach] Howard [Mudd] in the run game or [defensive line coach Jim Washburn] in the pass rush, just being able to talk and walk through those things is a big thing right now, and getting the guys to go in the right direction. We have the athletes and so on, and we have smart guys. They'll pick it up fast and we want them to play fast on both sides of the ball and that's our responsibility to make sure that happens through our teaching process."
On how tough it will be for the rookies to learn the system: "They're going to have to put on their thinking caps, and it's also the physical part of it. Like I said, I'm starting off slow and I think one of the things that's important here is that, and I keep saying this, but [general manager] Howie [Roseman], [president] Joe [Banner] and the agents, they've worked together. They've crammed a lot of wording and strategies in to get these guys here. So the majority of them if they're not here now they'll be here either tonight or tomorrow and it's going to be limited time missed. And so that's a tribute to them. But they're going to have to really focus in and there has to be a lot of concentration."
On whether he is going to treat offseason injuries different because the team has been unable to monitor the players throughout the lockout: "Sure. Like I said, tomorrow morning we're just going to walk through. We've got about an hour and a half, an hour and twenty minute practice, and it's a walk thru. You're taking the chalkboard out of the room and you're putting it on the field. So it's a meeting on the field. It's an opportunity for the coaches to have a lot of individual time and work through things with their guys. And in the afternoon we'll pick up the pace a little bit, and then we'll back it off the next morning and we'll just talk and walk and make sure that they understand, and then we'll pick it up a little bit in the afternoon. And so I'm saying it's just a ramp-up period; start them off slow. And listen, we have time. We've got the guys here on Wednesday. A majority of the team's here and we'll just take it day by day and get them into shape. We understand that they missed the OTA's, we understand all that. And so I'm just going to take them nice and slow and get them back into the swing of things and make sure that the injuries are as limited as possible by practice here. And then [head athletic trainer] Rick's [Burkholder] in there now. So he's in there going through all of the guys for the physicals, and so on. I don't know a whole lot right now, but I'm sure I'll find out."
On whether he and Burkholder think the injured guys look like they are in shape: "Well we saw some of the guys yesterday. We weren't able to physical them today but we saw the guys yesterday. The guys that came in yesterday I thought looked pretty good, you guys saw them out there. I thought they looked good. We didn't take them out and run them or anything, so, run routes, we couldn't do that. So I don't know from there; I'll know tomorrow, I'll have a pretty good idea tomorrow when I see them just run around a little bit as they get their timing back."
On whether he is concerned about going into the first preseason game with little preparation: "Well listen, in theory, this is the day the veterans were coming in, so it's the same amount of time that the veterans would come in until we play. I'm not jumping them into pads right away like we've done in the past. I'm going to ease them into this saying, and you're talking four days, so I'm okay with that."
On whether he is concerned about having 15 days to prepare for the first game without having OTAs and minicamps: "Yeah, listen, it will all work. Like I said, it's equal opportunity all the way around. I'll have a little better feel tomorrow when I see what kind of shape they're in. And if I have to back off a little bit so we take steps forward I'm okay with that."
On whether the veterans have a huge advantage: "Yeah, I would think. I mean they're going to be a step ahead, they're going to be a step ahead and I understand that. And at the same time we'll see the rookies; it's a little bit like an Evelyn Woods speed reading class, I mean we'll find out who can move their finger the fastest, right? So we'll find out here."
On whether he feels the players are at risk because the lockout just ended and they play a game in 15 days: "Well listen, my thing is it was our responsibility to bring in the right kind of guys. I mentioned after the draft, well you read about them, I thought we brought in some guys that were smart guys, good character guys, team captains, all that type of thing. And I think that helps you in this case the best it can help you. I think they're pretty good guys so I would imagine the veterans really have no other choice, you're up here at Lehigh, you have no other choice than to welcome everybody in and let's go. The veterans I think you'll see them helping the players out, the young guys out in the back as much or more than they've done in the past. It's just important that through the grind as we get into day four, day five, and so, that those guys maintain their focus with the heat and humidity and all those types of things."
On whether he was surprised and maybe a little disappointed when he saw the new practice regulations: "Change is hard for everybody, but I really didn't care. I prepped for it and it is what it is. It doesn't bother me, I'm more progressive than that. If it's given to me I'm going to try and solve whatever problem's there, any change that's there try to solve it. And I think we have a pretty good plan and we'll just see how it goes. And I'm excited about it and I think our guys are and I think it will work out fine."
On how the organization planned on delegating responsibilities between signing free agents and rookies: "Well thank goodness for cell phones. I mean, Joe, Howie, and I have talked a few times today. They're doing a great job; Howie's got a crew [and] Joe's got a crew. They're all working together and putting these deals together and keeping things flowing talking with the agents. It's been catch up for the agents too. So they're all kind of working together, maybe moreso than before, they're working together to get things done and get it done in a short periods of time. But we have a good crew. Obviously we have people that we trust within the organization to do things like that."
On whether it's tough not having the whole team here because of the lockout: "I kind of know how many draft picks, I mean as we started here we were down to three that weren't signed, but the majority of the guys are signed. So we'll get them up here and then we'll cut them loose. If a veteran player isn't able to practice, or isn't here or whatever it might be, then we'll give that young guy an opportunity to practice. So I'm okay with that; if somebody misses it gives that next guy a chance and then you get to see the depth of your team and teach and it all works out."
On whether there is any chance Kolb is an Eagle this season: "You're working that question. Listen, we'll see how all that works out. We'll see how everything goes here."
On why he felt it was important to hold training camp at Lehigh: "Number one Lehigh worked with us. I think a lot of the teams got to a point where they had to make a decision and Lehigh just said, 'hey', Joe and the people up here kept in touch and [chief operating officer] Don Smolenski and they allowed us to do this. And then [equipment manager] John Hatfield, he had the brake on but the motor was running, so when it was time to go he was out the gate, Rick Burkholder out the gate, and they told me they could get it done and then they were able to do it. I had to make sure I had trust in that. [assistant to head coach] Corey Matthaei who is my assistant, he sets all the camp up, felt comfortable with it. And then the people at Lehigh helping us out whether it's the staff that puts the food together, or the cleaning staff, the maintenance staff, they were able to get a crew together that were able to work through this and they thought it could be done and they were ready to roll."
On why he felt it was important to come to Lehigh for camp: "Well whoever asked the question about the continuity, I love coming up here because it puts everybody together so you're talking about players who don't know each other, haven't gone through mini camp, maybe this is even more important to come up here; they're housed together and they have to make it work. When you're up here there are not a lot of other things going on. And so you sit around after your meeting and you talk and socialize and review your playbooks. To do all those things that you do I think it brings the team together a little bit."
On whether more is accomplished at Lehigh than the NovaCare Complex: "Well, I'll tell you I could make it work either place. I enjoy coming up here.  I like having our fields the rest of the year look as they nice as they are, and are as nice to practice on them as we have them.  So there are some benefits to that, but I like having all the guys right here together and no distractions. That's a good thing."
On how free agents not being allowed to report until August 4 will affect things, and why the NFL is doing it: "Listen, the rules are the rules, so like I said, you'd love to have them all here today. But there's going to be that.  You've got to be a little flexible.  One of the neat things that we do with our meetings is that we film our meetings and so with that we use that as a teaching tool for guys that come in late.  We're able to sit them down and all the installs that have been delivered.  We can catch the players up in free time without the coach having to sit in there and go back through the install, and so that'll probably even be used more this year than it has in the past.  It allows those players to understand the plays and try to use technology and teach them the best we can."
On whether his expectations about the rookies' first year impact on the team have been lowered: "I haven't.  We've got a lot of young guys anyway.  But for the young rookies coming in, no, I haven't.  I expect them to come in and play and learn.  You just have to focus in just a little bit more aggressively, and stay tuned when you're tired.  You've got to make sure you put toothpicks in the eyes, make sure those eyelids don't collapse on you and stay awake.  Then review.  Any opportunity that you're given to go back over what you've been given by a coach, go back over it. Do it again. Ask the veteran players, utilize every minute of time that you have."
On how much QB Michael Vick will benefit from coming into camp as the starter: "Well by the time it's all said and done that almost doubles his reps.  That's a good thing.  You can't help but get better.  You can't help but get better from the knowledge bank that he put away this past season.  He brings that out, he adds to it, and learns and takes his game even to another notch. Here's the thing about Michael is, and he'll be the first to tell you, he can even get better.  I would say that about every player.  Every player can get better, it doesn't matter how long they've been in the league.  You can always get better as a coach, you can do the same thing.  Michael knows that and he's ready to go.  He looks like he's in great shape and I know he can't wait to cut it loose.  He is very excited.  If you have a chance to talk to him, you get that, its radiating from him. He wants to go like now."
On what the key areas are for Vick to improve: "Well you know the obvious one is what we talked about, just making sure he and the center are on the same page with the blitz.  It's equal opportunity for both of them.  Making sure that they have communication there and that's not Michael, that's two guys working together and knowing each other. So that'll probably be the number one thing.  And then the other things are smaller things that we deal with, and Michael before we were in the lockout, Michael had already been able to address some of that so he was able to take with him what he needs to work on after he left our facility."
On who the starting RT is: "Well we've got both [T] Winston [Justice], just depending on how Winston is feeling here, I've got to get with Rick [Burkholder].  We've got Winston and [T] King Dunlap who both can do that.  I'm going to put [G] Danny [Watkins] at the right guard position when he's ready to go, and then we're going to go."
On whether C Jamaal Jackson is ready to start at center: "Jamaal is ready to go, yeah he's ready to go."
On Jackson entering the season as the starting center: "Yeah, he'll be the starting center."
On possible experiments with giving players reps at different positions: "I want get them out there and see first, I want to see what we've got.  I haven't had a chance to work with any of the rookies.  I just want to kind get a feel of what's there and I'll take it from there.  If we need to move guys here or there we can do that.  I know we've got good players, that's what I know we have and it's just a matter of if we get them in the right spots and they do the things that I know they can do, and they know they can do, then we should have a pretty good football team."
On G/C Mike McGlynn: "Well the one nice thing he plays either guard and center, so it works good with that.  He'll get plenty of work."
On how quickly the free agents will be able to get up to speed due to lack of time: "I just have to see.  Listen, I would imagine they're going to be in the same type of shape as our players that are here now, and that I'll have a couple days with here.  So I'll be able to kind of make a judgment on the guys that we have in place and then we'll see when they come in.  We'll see when they come in.  I'm sure I'll have to ease them into it.  The one nice thing, excuse me, that the league did was they gave us a bigger roster that we can use for camp and that way you can still maintain the length of your practice and depth of your football team, so that the guys don't get forced into a position where they're cramming in a ton of reps."
On if it's more challenging to go after certain free agents because of the short time period: "We had a pretty well thought out plan, so I think that was important when the gun fired we were able to come out of the blocks fast and do our communicating with people.  We kind of knew the direction we wanted to go and we'll just see how things work out as it goes, but we tried to think through all the different scenarios and we'll see how it all works out with time."
On the history of Eagles' veteran holdouts having bad track records when returning: "You don't want any player to miss time.  You don't want them to do that.  You understand that's part of the game, but I don't want any player to miss time.  I want them to be out here, I think the players want to be out here likewise.  But you know there's two sides of this, there's a football side, there's a business side and you have to work it through.  Things happen, there's change, human element.  That's the beauty of the game, all of those things are the beauty of the game and the challenge of the game.  The challenge is to put all that together and still win football games, you have to love that.  I don't let all that bother me, I move forward.  Another man misses a day, another man practices and gets himself better, that's a beautiful thing."
On who the starting right cornerback is: "My starting right cornerback? I'm not going to tell you that."
On if the plan is for P Chas Henry to be the punter: *
"We'll see, we'll see how all this works out.  We'll see.  We've got a little time."

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