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Philadelphia Eagles News

Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg

Opening Remarks:"Happy New Year. The Minnesota Vikings are very, very good on defense. Their front seven, physical, strong, fast and quick, and certainly that's their strengths there, so we have a good challenge there. Of course, they are No. 1 against the run. I believe they are in the top half against the pass, and they lean on their defense just a little bit. We also will have the crowd noise, will be a big part of the game."

On the Vikings' defense being No. 1 against the run and whether the Eagles will try and run the ball: "Well, you'd like to. You'd like to be able to run the ball against the No. 1 defense in the league. Other teams happened to have very good numbers against them. And they get people to go three-and-out quite a bit."

On the Vikings' defense without DE Ray Edwards and DT Pat Williams: "Well, it's the playoffs. We expect them all to play, and so that's how we prepare."

On what the Vikings' defense would look without Williams: "He's a heck of a player. Really, really a good player. However, they have so much speed and quickness in that front seven, even with a couple of backups they look very similar to the way they looked previous to the injuries."

On whether some teams have success against the Vikings' run defense: "There's been, let's say, less than a handful of teams that have popped a few runs against them."

On whether he will take the Giants-Vikings game into consideration: "Well, the first half was a pretty good tussle there. And then, the second half, still it was a heck of a game. The Giants were doing everything they could do to win the football game, there is no question about that, and they had some backups in there."

On whether he expects WR Hank Baskett to be available for Sunday's game: "Yes. He was back last week in a sort of a role-play player-type situation, so I would expect him to be a little bit better this week. And he looked pretty good yesterday."

On whether WR Kevin Curtis is in the same situation as Baskett: "Yeah, both those players, they weren't near 100 (percent) yet. But they were rolling up to play, and both of them did a good job in the game and they both got in a few plays there."

On what kind of RB Brian Westbrook they are going to have going into the playoffs:"We'll see. We'll see when the game starts. I'd like to think that I sort of have a good feel of it by the time the game starts, so he practiced late in the week, and he hasn't done much of that as of late, and then in pregame. Brian is still a heck of a player. Very productive. Last year was a unique year for any player or running back. Then lastly, he's quite a threat when he's on the field."

On whether he feels he has a good mix going with Westbrook and RB Correll Buckhalter right now: "When we get enough plays I think we have done a reasonably good job there. It seems like there's been a couple of times where we haven't had many plays, where we put Westbrook in because we weren't getting very many plays. But when we get enough plays then it's usually a pretty good mix."

On the status of TE L.J. Smith: "He's still day to day, and so we'll see what his health is like. He's doing everything he can to make it to this football game."

On whether Smith will start if he's healthy:"Well yeah, again he's day to day, but if he's 100 percent, I would think so."

On whether it's tough not knowing how they will be able to use Westbrook since it's already Thursday:"No, it's been like that pretty much all year. Listen, I would not trade Brian Westbrook for (anything), if he's healthy during the football game, that's the key. Get him to the game."

On whether not knowing how Westbrook will be physically by game time affects his gameplan:"Well, sure. Anybody that is injured and not practicing influences. However, we work right around that."

On whether playing on turf Sunday will affect Westbrook: "I don't think the playing has much effect for that particular game. It may have an effect for the next week, especially early in the week. Yeah, practicing on it, we try to keep some of our guys off that."

On whether Westbrook hasn't practiced much this week because the team has been practicing indoors on turf: "Yeah."

On how he goes about gameplanning not knowing how Westbrook will be physically: "I don't want to say too much about how we do the particulars, but I really try to put Brian in certain spots. And then when he's not practicing, you don't want to do too much. Too much is just as bad as not enough when a man is not practicing very much. However, he is very smart. He makes very few mistakes, so it's not as big of a problem that way when he's not practicing."

On how other teams have gone about trying to attack the Vikings' defense: "Every team is a little bit different and they have gone in with a little bit different play. I thought several of them did a real good job. You'd like to score the points. Minnesota does a pretty good job field position-wise, so many of those teams have had to go a long ways. But again, there have been several teams that have done a pretty good job there of keeping them off balance, I thought."

On why he thinks the Eagles have been inconsistent on the road: "I'm not sure it's the road. I'm not sure that that's the reason. We have a mentality going on the road, it's a business trip. Normally, we are very focused on the road and it's all about the game. Our preparation and our hard work is completed by the time we get on the plane, or most of it anyways. So, I don't think it's on the road. I think we have just played pretty well in certain games and then haven't played well in a couple of other games and a couple of those happened to be on the road."

On whether there is more of a focus on sustaining drives this Sunday: "Yeah, that would be part of it."

On whether he's looking forward to coaching against Vikings head coach Brad Childress:"Sure. You really don't think about it much early in the week. You're so focused on the preparation part, but you surely put some thought into it a little bit later in the week. It's always good. A lot of people know a lot of people, I guess, in this league, so you're doing that virtually every week, whether it be a head coach, a coordinator, or surely some position coaches."

On whether he thinks QB Donovan McNabb's benching had an effect on the rest of the team: "Oh yeah, sure. I think any time something like that occurs it has an effect on virtually everybody on that football team, on our football team, including the coaches."

On whether he can make a gameplan that heavily features Westbrook if he doesn't know how Westbrook will be able to perform physically: "Yes, you can. We've discussed this a little bit before where you do plan for Brian playing and playing a lot and playing well. Or any player, let's take any player, you plan for that. Then you also have other things where the other fellows are in, so your plan may be here and then you get into a game and it's more here. So, you can pick those particular plays and formations and personnel groups and there are some times where that particular player may get the reps, at let's say the walkthroughs and those types of things, on all of his plays, and then in the game the backup isn't ready to do those types of things so you go to the other plays. There are some of those plays where the backup is ready and you get him ready that week, of course, so you can use those plays. So, every week is a little bit different that way with players that are banged up."

On how long into a game it takes him to realize how a player is going to perform and which gameplan he can use: "Like I said, I like to think that I have a pretty good idea when we are in pregame of how that particular player is moving. (Head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) has a great feel on that, so before the game starts, I'd like to think that we know there. And then anything can happen in a game."

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