Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

Opening Comments:

"Injuries – [LB] Akeem Jordan has a slight tear in his shoulder, labrum tear, he'll struggle this week. We'll see how he does, try to take it day by day, but he'll struggle to practice this week I think as we go. [DE] J[uqua] P[arker], he had his foot x-rayed, but he's fine, it's negative and he's doing okay. [DE] Darryl Tapp has a pec[toral] strain. We'll see how he does, kind of a day-by-day thing here, we'll see how he does this week. [QB] Vince [Young] is making progress, he was out running today. He's making progress with his hamstring. Again, we're in that stage now where it's a day-by-day thing. Tough to win in the National Football League, particularly on the road, can still come out and tell you that we've got a lot of things to work on after the game yesterday. The players, I know you had an opportunity to talk to them after the game, I could tell by the comments that they were humble and they understand the situation that we've got to continue to get better and get better against a good football team this week with Atlanta and play down at their place. That's what we will do as a team as coaches and as players, but again on the other hand, we also understand how tough it is to win games in this league and we respect that part of it too. Some of the positives that went on – in general I think from our return game, to our offense, to our defense, we continue to get better throughout the game. Some of our young players I thought progressed throughout the game and got better. In general that was the situation. Specifically, I thought our young linebackers proved every opportunity that they had to play, I thought it started off we were playing a little cautious, playing cautious football at the linebacker spot and kind of checking things out and then as the game went on they really picked it up. I'd like to tell you, and it was, it was a nice run by [Rams RB] Steven [Jackson] on the first play, but the hole was pretty big. I might've been able to fit through that hole. That was a good sized hole. But, as you saw, as the game went on, they tightened things up and the seams, that's what we're looking at, the lanes for runners to run through, were tightened up and it progressively got better as the game went on. The O-Line, again, they looked like they worked well together. It was a good test for them right off by playing in a stadium that is domed and is very loud so I was encouraged by the way they handled the noise. We have a young center [Jason Kelce] in there, who actually I thought played well. We're asking him to do a lot of things, and I thought he handled it for the most part fairly well. The communication between he and [QB] Mike [Vick] got better again as the game went on as far as declaring the protections and that. We had a couple stumbles there early where we were using timeouts to get it straight. It was pretty clean there the second half, the process. I thought [RB] LeSean [McCoy], we're asking him to do a couple little different runs from the last few years, we used some of those in this game and you could see the opportunity that he had he took advantage of it and was very patient with the pulling linemen and setting things up and bursting off of them. I always look for those first couple steps, when his eyes see it, when he feels it, those first couple steps kind of tell the story and I thought he did a nice job of bursting through there. Third downs, normally this early in the season your third down percentage is a little bit lower than what we had here, so that I think was a positive in the game, on both sides of the ball. [RB] Dion Lewis I thought, again, he had opportunities back there and you saw him take a couple of them out. I think we've gotten that straightened out and he did a better job after that on the kickoff returns. It was good to get [WR Jeremy] Maclin and [WR] Steven Smith through the game and get them actual game time and reps. I thought they held up, in particular Jeremy, he had more snaps than what Steven did, so it was good to get him through and both of them come out healthy. I thought our D-Line consistently put pressure on the quarterback. As the game went on I thought they used their hands well and transitioned well to the run game, and that's very important in this style of defense, is that we're an up-the-field charge team. But at the same time you have to keep your hands available to use, to shed, and cut back and rally to the football for the run game, and I thought they did a good job and got better as the game went on, in particular with the run part of it. Again, I just want to compliment [Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo] Spags on the job that he's done with the Rams. They had a few injuries that took place during that game. They were able to put other guys in there and that's a tribute to his personnel department. The job that he's done, both his coordinators and his special teams coordinator, I think had a very good plan coming into this game for us. I thought his players played hard and executed, and the players that got hurt, they'll get healthy and they'll be back and do good there. My hat's off to him, he's got a good football team there."

On the difference between opening week last year and this year in terms of coming through it healthy:

"Continuity is a big part of this thing. As you go on through the season you want to grow as a team. On the other hand, you've got to maintain a certain attitude because it's a physical game, there are going to be injuries, so the next guy in needs to come in to play. Having the short offseason, coming out of camp with guys relatively healthy I think helps, at least early in the season. The name of this game is there's going to be injuries that take place so it's important to have the depth, and [General Manager] Howie [Roseman] has done a good job for us, of giving the coaches an opportunity to have good players. The second team players have worked their tails off for opportunity so if something were to happen we would feel comfortable with them stepping in."

On why McCoy is so successful in the fourth quarter of games:

"Well listen, over the years I think if you, and obviously you've done your homework on this so I'm putting this out here, but I'll take you back to even the Bill Walsh days of this offense, through Green Bay and Mike in Seattle, and so on. Mike had a little bit different situation with his runner up there, for a year he ran the ball a little bit more than what he normally did. You see the second half, and in particular that fourth quarter being very productive for the runners. That's the way you want to do it, in particular if you have the lead. You want to be able to keep the clock running, still have productive runs, that's all part of it."

On what makes McCoy, in particular, so good in the fourth quarter:

"I think his rookie year, like a lot of rookies, he came in and he didn't quite understand the demands. Brian Westbrook was a good helper there in teaching him, of the demands it takes to play running back in the National Football League. He came back the next year and he was in much better shape and he's maintained that. He maintained that with his time off, or the lockout, not time off for him, but the lockout, and he came back to camp in good shape so I think that matters going into the fourth quarter of the game. It's not like, he's still carrying the football prior to the fourth quarter, and he's still running routes and catching the ball and the screen game and also in the pass game part of it. Blocking, you saw he did a nice job with the blocking part of it. But, it really comes down to the condition that he's in."

On how to find balance between allowing Vick to scramble and keeping him healthy:

"There were a couple times where he actually went down, which was, or at least we're getting him, he was about half way down. So that's a good thing, we're getting closer. There's a part of that you don't want to take away. The protection part and blitz part, you understand that when they're bringing an extra guy to a side that, and this is a combination of things so when I say everybody has a little piece of the pie this is part of it. When people bring an extra guy the receivers need to be dynamic on those plays where things are happening fast and they've got to make sure they clear fast and that Michael gets the ball out fast. Sometimes you're going to have to hang on to it just a tick longer because the defense does a pretty good job and in those cases you're going to take a hit and you've just got to kind of know how to get rid of it and then still lean out of the hit and protect yourself the best way you possibly can. He's getting better at that, though."

On whether he's given up on trying to get Vick to slide:

"Listen, we're making progress. This is one of the most competitive guys you're ever going to meet, I'm just telling you. Yeah, I know he's quiet and all that, but he is a fierce, fierce competitor. But we're making progress."

On whether he was comfortable that he was forced to scramble mostly because there were no other options:

"Then he kept his eyes down the field, I'd just add that to your comment there. I'd say yes to those, it was good that he made some plays where he moved out of the pocket suddenly and still threw the ball. Made a couple big plays doing that. He retreated, you saw max blitz the one that he threw to [WR] DeSean [Jackson] in the end zone crossing the formation there. That was a beautiful thing. That was a plus. It was a play action pass, absolutely had a clear man on the backside, moved a little bit to the left, retreated, and kind of did a fall away jumper and threw the ball to DeSean. That's progress in the right direction. Are there things that he needs to work on and continue to work on? Absolutely, and I'll probably tell you that until the day he retires. There's always something [to improve], quarterbacks, coaches, everybody, that's the nice part about this game."

On whether he believes some of the issues from the first game will be resolved by their second game in a dome:

"We're going to try to work on those things and get that so we don't have to use the timeouts and get that cleared up. We'll get that covered."

On whether it was the noise in particular that caused the issues:

"Listen, it was a combination of things. I'll leave it at that. We'll get it taken care of. That's my responsibility to do that and I'll get it done."

On how far away he is from being able to protect Vick the way he wants to:

"Now listen, if teams are going to blitz you, which they did, you're not going to hit on every one, but when you do hit you want to make them productive. You see the best quarterbacks in the league, and I put Michael into the same category as the top quarterbacks in this league, is that they're going to get hit. That's just how it works. And then it's what they do with the ball. Do they make the defense pay? If you make the defense pay, then they're not going to blitz as much, so he did that. He made some big plays, just like he did last year, he made some big plays with the blitz. Not everyone is going to be perfect but the great ones find a way to get it done, and that's what he does."

On whether he is going to have to think about getting Vick out of games early when the team has a large lead:

"We'll see, you know, we'll see how all that goes. You want to make sure you solidify it. If you're asking could I have gotten him out of there probably a little bit earlier, I probably could have, yeah."

On whether he feels he needs to calm Vick's excitement down for his return to Atlanta:

"Well, you know, you've got to kind of put that part out of your mind and focus in on the game plan, and he'll do that. He's played in some big games before. But you have to go through the process, and this goes with any player, if you eliminate the process and go from Sunday to Sunday and you don't go through the Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and so on, and in particular for the quarterback, he's in here today, he'll probably be in here tomorrow and so on, that you make a mistake there if you don't exhaust yourself on those days of preparation, and he's very good about that. He's the kind of guy that you've got to kind of boot out of here. He's always around and wanting to make sure he has everything down pat. That's what he'll focus in on initially and then he goes and plays."

On why he decided not to play G Danny Watkins:

"I thought he could take a step back to take a step forward, a big step forward, and with that I thought he missed some crucial time, in particular in our install period. There's a point where you go through camp where you're just barreling plays at these guys and then there's a point where you pull back. Well the first week or two are very, very important weeks and days, and each one is crucial that you get that install and you get it down pat and you have an opportunity to practice it. In particular in his situation, when I mentioned the three things about you go from college to pros, that's a tough jump, you go from left tackle to right guard, that's a tough jump. So you're going from the left side to right side, from tackle to guard, those are three things there that are tough to acclimate too. Now you add into that the lockout, the mini camps, and then the missed time by holding out, so he's been playing a catch-up game since he's been here.  So it's not fair you stick him in a situation like that. It's not fair to do that. So I made that decision to give him as many reps as I could get him, and then just pull back a little bit. I know [G Kyle] DeVan knows the offense, so he's able to step in. He's a veteran player. Danny's day will come. I mean, it will come. Danny's a talented kid it just there's too much catch up there."

On how much of a factor the defensive line's pressure on Rams QB Sam Bradford was:

"Bradford is a great quarterback. I said that before we went into the game and I still feel that same way. Again, our defensive line did a nice job. I thought our defense, when we did pressure, when we had our pressure packages they did a nice job. It starts with the D-Line, if you put pressure on with the four guys that's a plus. When they were stunting and straight rushing I thought they were able to do that with four men, and then you add in some of the blitz fire zones that Juan did that added to it. Again, to answer your question, I thought the D-Line did do a good job."

On whether he is happy so far with the improvements to the pass defense:

"We've got to keep working, that's what you do. You try figure out the things that you do best down there, on both sides of the ball, and then you figure out how that fits into your game plan, and then you go with it. We'll see how it goes, time will tell, we'll see just how it all works out."

On the thinking behind kicking the field goal with nine seconds left before the half instead of taking another shot at the end zone:

"Just get the points. We had had the time out before that, and moved back. Each play takes right around between six and nine seconds there. Once I get down around that time I'm normally going to kick it, but there were some added things to that too."

On Parker's negative x-ray:

"Well he just woke up with some soreness in his foot so we had it x-rayed. I don't think it's a problem."

On whether Jordan will need his shoulder scoped:

"No, no, he should be fine."

On whether there is any concern that Tapp's injury may be long-term:

"Well we'll see. I don't think he'll be long-term, but we'll see how it goes. I think he tore it pretty good, I mean it's pretty sore, but we'll just see how it all works out as he goes."

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