Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid and Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder

Andy Reid Opening Comments: "I brought Rick in to talk about (QB) Michael's (Vick) situation, but to start with, Michael felt good enough to do the walkthrough this morning, so that's a positive step, and then from there we're going to get all three of them ready to go, as long as Michael continues through his process, they'll all have a chance to get themselves ready for this game. So with that I'll turn it over to Rick and he'll give you an update here."

Rick Burkholder Opening Comments: "I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain a little bit of the process, so it's a little easier to understand what coach is going through, I'm going through, what Michael's going through. The things that we look at since game time, and since I last spoke to you guys is, we first look at his symptoms, and really, basically, the only symptoms he has right now is his neck's a little sore from the game, and his jaw is a little sore from the game, and he doesn't have a whole lot of concussion symptoms. Then we look at two things, cognitive stuff, which is the impact testing I talked about before and how he interacts in meetings and at the walkthrough, and how he does with mental stuff, and then we look at exertion, so I have different components of that with cardio, lifting, balance, and I have a whole process that he goes through in progression. And then of course coach and I, and our docs, and his teammates as well, look at his activities of daily living, how he's interacting with everybody, and whether anything's off. I'll tell you right now, he's right in the middle of this process, right where we expected him to be, and everything's progressing, we're not going to push him ahead of where we think the process goes, we're not going to judge it right now, like coach said, he's going to take care of all three quarterbacks, and Michael will continue to go through the process with me, and he's doing fine right now. The MRI that I told you about, we did do on Monday, and it was negative and he'll continue through this process. Part of that process as well, after we get all those four things lined up is that he does have to see an independent neurologist, which he hasn't seen yet, but we have it on our schedule, and then he'll meet with our team doc, (Team Internist) Dr. (Gary) Dorshimer as well."

On when Vick will see the independent neurologist: RB – "It'll depend on a little bit of how he did with the walkthrough today, and how he does with the exercise bout this afternoon, and how he does with impact testing, that kind of thing. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, somewhere in the next couple days we'll get him to see that independent."

On what could keep Vick out of the game Sunday, even if he is currently asymptomatic: RB – "We look at those things that I outlined, so if his impact test, which he took yesterday and is very, very close to what his baseline is, just doesn't get back, or he develops symptoms, you know, just because he doesn't have symptoms today doesn't mean he doesn't wake up without symptoms tomorrow. That's the process throughout the league and it's the process with anybody. I don't anticipate that, but that could happen. The other thing is if he just can't get the football concepts down because, cognitively he does fine on impact but he doesn't do well with the coaches, then you know something's amiss, and we weigh all that. Coach and I talk, we've talked five, six, seven times a day on this, we've talked to Mike, the doctors have talked to Mike, this is a constant monitoring situation and will go through out right to game time."

On who finds the independent neurologist: RB – "They're independent so the NFL was the person that selected."

On whether he knows who the independent neurologist is: RB – "Oh yeah, they put them in your city. They picked one for all the cities in the NFL. Really, Dr. Elliot Pellman, who's head of the NFL medical side of it, and I'm sure that he consulted with the people at the NFL offices, and possibly the players union, the players association, to come up with those names, but we didn't pick that person."

On when Vick will have another impact test: RB – "Within the next day or two."

On whether the results of this next impact test have to be better than the ones he's taken so far: RB – "Yeah, just a little bit. I mean, he's right at his baseline, I just want him to do a little bit better on it."

On whether anyone has returned the next week after suffering a concussion since the NFL has changed its protocol for head injuries: RB – "Oh yeah, there is. I mean you just had some guys this week in the NFL."

On how he would grade Vick's concussion: RB – "We don't really grade them until we get through the whole process, and that's just something that we've learned over time. You know, you put a grade on them and then it depends, it really does. Most of the experts will tell you don't grade them right away, and we haven't graded it."

On how much Vick will be able to do this afternoon: RB – "I mean, he's got to do stuff with me and then coach and I are going to get together."

On whether Vick will participate in practice: AR – "We'll just see, we're going to see how things go until we get to practice, and if he can't go then, than the other two will take reps."

On whether Vick has shown any cognitive signs from the concussion: AR – "I was having no problem with the football part, yeah, no problem at all."

On whether they're basically saying that Vick is going to play Sunday: AR – "Listen, you have to go through, this is the point, every hour here is an important hour, so you're asking questions for the future, it's hard to give you the future because you want to make sure you do this the right way and go through the process. It's like playing the game, you know, the guys have to go through the process. With the concussion, you have to go through the process, so that's what we're doing. What's good right now might not be good this afternoon, or tomorrow, or whenever, so, you know, on the other hand it could be fine. Just go through it."

Rick Burkholder Comment: "Just know this, that everybody in the league has to go through this process. It's part of the new concussion protocols and everything we're all dealing with. There's guys that get to certain points and then have a setback, and there's people who sail through it, so you can't predict. We're not trying to hide anything, we can't predict, it's not fair."

On whether Vick's symptoms seem less severe than other concussions he's dealt with, such as Brian Westbrook and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson: RB – "We never compare, just don't do it. Everybody's different, so we just don't compare. We just compare Michael to Michael."

On what Vick has told him about his desire to get back on the field: RB – "I think I addressed this Monday, he wanted to play Sunday night, so that has not changed."

On whether Vick has to be considered symptom free before he is sent to see the independent neurologist: RB – "Yeah, and I told you, symptoms-wise he's okay, I'd like to do just a little bit better, and challenge him a little bit more exercise-wise before I send him there. That's why I haven't sent him yet."

On whether he has had another impact test since the one administered at the game: RB – "He didn't have an impact test at the game, that's a handwritten test, this is a computer test. He's had one impact test. We'll get another one either today or tomorrow."

On when Vick took the impact test: RB – "That test was yesterday, Tuesday."

On whether the impact test is administered at the NovaCare Complex: RB – "Right, on-site."

On whether Vick will take exertion tests today: RB – "Yeah, he's been going through some exertion stuff. He went through some stuff yesterday, and he's going to go through more today. I have a, it's almost like a rehab process that I go through, staged, more challenges as we go, and he's doing fine."

On what the exertion tests consist of: RB – "Bike, lifting, balance work, that kind of thing."

On how close to game time will a decision be made: AR – "I'm going to get them all ready and go, you know, as long as they're healthy we'll go with the one who's the healthiest. That's how I'm looking at it."

On whether wanting Vick to do better on the impact testing is considered a symptom: RB – "No, that's part of the cognitive testing that I talked about. He's in a very close range to being right back to where he was back in the summer when he took the test."

On whether the league-wide emphasis on concussions might make him more cautious with playing Vick so soon: RB – "The situation with everything that's going on with concussions right now is that we've tried to take testing, and everything that we know about it and make it very objective, so that makes it easier. I'm going to tell you right now, and coach knows this, I'm not real worried about him playing right now, I'm worried about the process that he's going through, and as we go through each step I'll report to the people that need to know, and then we'll make a decision. So is there pressure on me? I don't think so, I don't think there's pressure on anybody. We go through a process and that's the way it's always been here, is that you go through a process and once you answer all of that process, then the product will take care of itself. So if he plays, he plays, and if he doesn't, he doesn't, from a concussion standpoint, because we know that he's got to answer these certain things in the process to get there."

On how difficult the next day or two will be without having clarity on who is going to be the quarterback: AR – "Well listen, I talked to the quarterbacks about the same thing, and (Offensive Coordinator) Marty  (Mornhinweg) and (Quarterbacks Coach) Doug (Pederson), is that we're pretty fortunate to have three guys that we feel comfortable who can play the game. My message to all of them was get ready accordingly. As we go through this process, and then it takes place, it'll clear itself out and we go play the game. The most important thing is that we're not as focused on (the concussion), we've got other things, we've got the Giants, I know this is an important thing, Michael's situation, but from the coaches, they've got to get themselves ready and the rest of the team to play the Giants, who are a real good football team. That's part of the process that's going on on the side here besides the concussion."

On whether QB Vince Young is 100%: AR – "We're just going to see how he does here this week, see how he feels, continuing going through that process with him. We'll see, we'll see how it works out."

On the possibility of bringing in a fourth quarterback: AR – "That's not where I'm at right now, no."

On whether this is a situation where he won't announce his quarterback until game day: AR – "Well, I don't know. Listen, you guys are way ahead of the whole thing here. I'm worried about getting the base personnel situated today and the game plan part of that taken care of. So that's what we're doing on both sides of the football and special teams, and then we'll take it day-by-day. Like I said, I'm fortunate to have three guys that I know can go in games, and win football games, and that I feel comfortable with, and that the team feels comfortable with so just let the thing happen, I can't give you answers right now, we'll see how it goes as we go through the process."

On saying that he regretted the way he handled QB Mike Kafka on Sunday, and what he would do differently this week: AR – "I'm not sure that's exactly what I said, but my point was I probably should have done more with him. It wasn't that I was not satisfied with him; I thought he actually did a very nice job. I shouldn't have been quite so cautious so early."

On who will be taking the reps with the ones today: AR – "We're going to see, first of all, if Michael can, how he goes here for the next hour and half, and literally that's how these things work. I'm just taking it one step at a time here. If Michael can do it than Michael will take it. If not, I'm going to have both of them in there working, so we'll just see how it goes."

On whether he will have to draw up a game plan that is tailored to one of the quarterback's strengths and weaknesses: AR – "They'll do the same thing and be good with it."

On whether he is concerned about the lack of depth at defensive end where there are injuries: AR – "Well I would be if I knew Hunt wasn't here and coming off of the production that he had in the preseason and years past in another league there, so I think he'll be okay to work into the rotation. (DE Juqua Parker) was the other injury here, along with (DE) Darryl Tapp, and they will not practice today, so we'll just see how they do as it goes on." 

On whether there is a chance he would not play Vick Sunday, even if he was cleared medically: AR – "Listen, with the rules the way they are right now, and that's why I had Rick come in and explain all that, I don't think anybody else in the league would probably do that right there, but I wanted to make sure that we're all educated on it and we know it. I'm not trying to hide anything with you here. The process is the process. If he makes it through that, and there are a whole lot of things, steps that he has to go through, if he makes it through that than he's okay to play, that's the way it goes, like (WR) Jason Avant did last year, same deal. That's how it works."

On how close WR Steve Smith is to being the player that he competed against in years past: AR – "Well I'll tell you what, he's getting there. Right now it's just a matter of him being comfortable in the offense, and seems like every day he's getting a little bit more comfortable. The skill level is still the same, it's just getting him familiar and comfortable and enough reps in there, you know, we have got a few wide receivers, we're very fortunate there to have guys, so we've tried to work him in. But I think he's coming off a game where he had a couple nice catches, and that's a step forward, right? He went from five plays, no catches, to getting a couple catches and a few more plays."

On TE Brent Celek's MRI: AR – "He's okay. Those two that I mentioned are the only two right now."

On whether the game plan will need to be tailored to the quarterback that is starting: AR – "I think the game plan, the way it's set right now, I think they all understand it. Vince has been here, Vince has done a phenomenal job of learning all this stuff, I mean, he got a ton thrown at him here and he's done a great job learning everything. That part of it I'm comfortable with. We've just got to see how he goes through this week, and where he's at physically. I'm not going to put either of those two in jeopardy if they're not physically there, I would never do that." 

On whether the rivalry with the Giants has taken on a new level of intensity after the outcome of their last meeting: AR – "That's the way it's been since I've been here. The NFC east, there are some great rivalries there. That's what this things all about, this type of a game, the guys love it, I think both teams. They've got friendships with the proximity of the teams being so close together, but when it's time to play on Sunday it's time to play. It's always a great atmosphere."

On whether DT Cullen Jenkins can play defensive end: AR – "You know, Cullen's had experience there and done that so if we need to go that route and put him into the rotation, we can do that. He did that at Green Bay and he's done that a little bit actually for us here, he did some last week in practice."

On whether the three starting linebackers will remain the same this week in practice: AR – "Yeah."

On whether he has been surprised at how quickly Smith has been able to get back onto the field: AR – "Yeah, he's done a good job. I mentioned to our media here that it was a little different injury. When you think of the pick, micro fracture surgery, you're thinking ligaments, and cartilage, and all these things that are involved with it, and his wasn't that. The cartilage damage and ligament damage wasn't there, so it allowed him a faster recovery, and then on top of that he had no swelling. Now that's unusual, the swelling part, but that also helps in the healing process. You guys know him, his work ethic is phenomenal, very determined guy."

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