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Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On the new offensive talent, specifically RB LeSean McCoy: "For all the guys that we drafted, obviously it was a need purpose, but also having the opportunity to work with these guys throughout OTAs and minicamps, and out in Arizona, the one thing you like about them is that they listen. They are very talented, athletic-wise and they want to do whatever it takes in order to win. That's something that I enjoy. I think it goes beyond how great they are, or how great they were in college. Whenever you have an athlete that comes in and is willing to learn, and wants to do nothing but win, and is not a guy that wants to come in and be a star, and that's his mindset. These are guys that just want to contribute and they want to do it at a high level. Obviously, they want to make a name for themselves."

On how much working out in Arizona helps the new players: "I think it helps a lot. For a lot of guys that are coming out at 20 (years old), like (WR) (Jeremy) Maclin and McCoy. Then you have guys like (TE) (Cornelius) Ingram, who sat out a whole year and never really got a chance to work with (QB) (Tim) Tebow or whoever, it's more than just going out and catching balls. It's preparing yourself mentally for what we will be faced with here, as well as during the season. That's kind of the regiment that we do. Getting up at 7:30 in the morning, being over at the facility by 8:15 or 8:30, starting with core, after that some agility training and then some cardio at the end, and then lifting afterwards. It's a steady regiment. We give them an opportunity to sleep, eat and then we're back on the field again, and battling the 115 degree heat. For those guys who where out there, they thought that they benefited from it and hopefully we'll see it out on the field."

On whether he is surprised that Maclin is not in camp yet: "No, because I wasn't here for my rookie year. It's part of the business. It's something that you go through. I'm just excited that we had an opportunity to work out in Arizona. For the days that he's missed, I've had an opportunity to work with him, so when he comes in we can just feed on that."

On how long he would have to miss before it compromises his potential:"There are ways about that. For him, these days would just be days for him to kind of get ahead. We are going to go back over the same thing when the vets get here. I'm sure he and his agent, and (Team President) Joe (Banner) and (head coach) Andy (Reid), and those guys will sit down and resolve something. Get him an opportunity to get here so he can kind of get his feet wet and be able to battle and compete with the rest of the guys."

On whether the team has more talent on offense than in the past: "I think it's premature, it's premature to say that. Obviously when guys come out of college and with the great things they were able to do in college, people think that they can translate that to the NFL. It's hard to say, because some have and some haven't. I think you have to give guys the opportunity to develop in the offense and the schemes in which they've been drafted into. For Maclin, it's to much pressure to put on his shoulders to do what (WR) DeSean (Jackson) did in his rookie year, or to do what (WR) Reggie (Brown) did in his rookie year, because it's not just a one-year thing. You have to do it year in and year out. For the guys coming back healthy, I think it's important for guys like (WR) Kevin (Curtis) and Reggie, and now (TE) Brent (Celek) is stepping into the starting role, (RB) (Brian) Westbrook coming back from injury and now our offensive line. I think it's important for us to get our chemistry and timing back down to where we need it to be, so those other guys can just kind of lead into there roles and do it at a high level."

On whether there are a lot of questions on offense: "There are a lot of questions, even for myself. You want to come back and you want to play at a high level, and do it consistently. I challenge myself to come out and do better. For us to say that in the first day of camp is hard to say. We'll see how it goes throughout camp. We'll see how it goes through the middle and the beginning of the season, as well as the end."

On McCoy coming to camp as a kid and getting an autograph from McNabb and what is going through McCoy's head as he's out here for the first time: "(Jokingly) hopefully that wasn't more than just a couple years ago. I'm not that old. That makes me sound real old. I'm not Brett (Favre). That wasn't a bad thing. I think for him, he's got a lot racing through his mind. (There is) a lot of pressure on his shoulders, being drafted as a running back when we have Westbrook here. Now everyone is expecting him to do so much. The same went for Tony Hunt. It's a lot of pressure on your shoulders when you're coming out battling versus one of the best running backs ever to play here in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform. Also, he's from the Pennsylvania area, so he's got a lot of people behind him and a lot of people pushing for him to do great things. Then we are trying to lead him in there so he can pick up things faster. There's a lot on his shoulders but I think he's handled it really well. (He's) making sure that he's staying the course and continuing to stay aware that the guys around him can take a lot of pressure off of him. If he has any questions we'll be able to provide answers for him and for him to just go play football."

On whether Reggie Brown can have a breakout year: "I think (he) can. I've always said it, every time you guys have asked me about a player. It's too early to say. Just give him an opportunity. I think anytime someone has a great year then all of a sudden everyone is putting him up there as one of the best players at his position and that's a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Then when things don't happen the way everyone expects them to, then all of a sudden you hear 'bust'. Or 'he's not that guy'. You have to give him an opportunity. Last year I though he had the best camp out of everybody. Then he tweaked his hamstring, which kind of pushed him back a little bit and gave DeSean an opportunity to speed up his learning. I think he rode well with it by being able to make big plays for us. That kind of pushed Reggie back to the flanker position and then he came in at the X after an injury, led us in receptions in (a few) games. Things didn't go as well as he wanted them to but, you have to give guys an opportunity to develop into what we're doing. DeSean is coming off a great year. He understands the pressures he is going to be faced with this year, of teams knowing what he can do, and how they'll be able to assert their secondary toward him, what we want to do here with him and the rest of the guys. You have to be patient with these guys and understand that, after their first or second year you're putting too much pressure on them. Then when things don't work out well they don't exceed expectations in your eyes."

On whether he expects Jackson to have similar struggles: "I wouldn't sit here and say that it will or it won't. That's really not my judgment. I think what I can do is make it easier for him to be able to go out and have great games. As an individual player you have to be able to put yourself in a position to be able to do that. I think he's worked extremely hard this offseason, coming in with a different mindset and just looking forward to making an impact."

On how he can improve at his 11th year in training camp: "Each year you challenge yourself, if it's different throws, if it's footwork, if it's conditioning, if it's leadership. I'm a big believer in going out and showing guys out on the field instead of talking about it. Those guys who have trained with me, they see that I push them while we're running. I do a little talking but most importantly I do it while I'm out there with them. I think it's out there on the field. Whether it's certain throws, if it's spending extra time with them after practice if it's communicating with them during practice. I think that's something which I've tried to incorporate into what I'm doing this year. Everyone knows I've been here 11 years, one of the longest tenures right now on the team. You just try to make sure it's easier for those guys to understand to just go out and play football and not have to worry about anything."

On the T.O. Show: "(Jokingly) I will be on there. I'll be making an appearance on the show. Write this down. No I won't. The T.O. Show was alright. The first episode had some interesting people on there. I'm sure it's going to continue on."

On how the T.O. Show could be improved:"(Jokingly) By not having it."

On whether there is extra pressure on the team given Eagles President Joe Banner's comments about the team having the NFL's best roster: "What do you expect Joe to say? Does it put pressure on us? No. Does it put pressure on the coaches? No. Does it put pressure on Joe? Maybe, but for us, I've never complained about the players we've had on our team. I've never complained about any of that. I think when we are out on this field we have to be able to execute and execute together. No matter who we bring in here (we have to) lead him to the water and hopefully he drinks. For these guys we've drafted and the guys we brought in as free agents, they are going to play a major part in what we do, but here in training camp it's important they understand the tempo as well as the mind set of each day at practice, as well as what we like to do in game situations."

On whether he thinks this is the best roster the Eagles have had since he's been on the team: "We've got a lot of 20 and 21 year old kids on this team. I'm 32 years old. I've seen a lot of what they've done in college but again it goes back to, 'can you do the same things you did in college on the pro level?' And some haven't, and some have. It's hard to say right now what we have because we haven't competed, and we haven't been through the tough games and haven't been digging ourselves a lot of holes, and being able to come out quick and finish strong with these guys. So, for the veterans that we have here, we know what we can do. And obviously with guys that we've lost, being here with those guys for ten years, having them being somewhere else and the new guys step in, you never know."

On the importance of offensive line changes that were made in the offseason: "I think it's important for all of us. You've got to have an offensive line or we'll set a record for most sacks and no yards in the run game. But, the guys they went after, you bring in a Jason Peters, one of the best at his position. And you bring in Stacy Andrews, who many have said is the best at tackle or guard. Then you get Shawn Andrews back healthy and ready to roll, who I felt was the best guard in the game, now you move him to tackle. I thought (C) Jamaal (Jackson) was doing a great job at the center position, the catalyst of the offensive line. So, you have that security and you have (G/T) Todd Herremans who I felt should have made the Pro Bowl last year, and him coming off a great year. So, they have to gel and we have to gel with them and, it says a lot that obviously (head coach) Andy (Reid) wasn't a receiver in college, so he cares about the offensive line situation and it shows."

On his feelings now that his contract situation is resolved: "I was good throughout that whole deal. And it wasn't that I would have been a free agent or that there was some desperate need. It was something we communicated about and resolved it and moved on. So, as far as the mental aspect is concerned, I'm excited about being here, excited working with the guys and looking forward to what we can do out on this field."

On whether it is strange to be our here starting camp without Brian Dawkins, Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan: "It is. You know it's a little different walking through the door because Dawk and I kind of walked through the door at the same time during these camps and kind of push each other to go out and be the best out on the field. Being in the weight room after practice and working out or if it's running after practice, whatever it may be, that's something that I definitely will miss with Dawk as well as when he kind of changes into whoever he is during gameday. That's something that you miss. With Tra, having that security blanket for your backside, knowing that he's there and communicating with him throughout the whole game with what we were seeing and how to attack it, same with Runyan.

"That's something that will be missed. These are guys, who for ten years, have always been kind of right up in the forefront making sure the guys understand what we want to do here, and when you don't have those three it's tough because it was such a pattern that we were going through. Now, you have to start that with (T) Jason Peters. You have to start that with (S) Quintin Mikell or (FS Quintin) Demps. You start that all over with (G/T) Shawn (Andrews) or (T/G) Stacy (Andrews), whoever is playing right tackle. So, the communication has to be there, and that's kind of where the 11th year of experience and being kind of the old-young man on the block of just making sure that everyone is comfortable with their situation and comfortable with their roles, and making sure they know what they need to do. The same goes for me making sure that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do at a high level to take pressure off them."

On who he sees becoming the leader of the defense: "That's kind of hard to say because you don't want to put pressure on people who can't handle that role. I think Quintin Mikell and (CB) Sheldon (Brown) are those guys who can handle that in the secondary. Not to take anything away from (CB) Asante (Samuel), with this being Asante's second year, that's something that I think eventually will get into him. People already kind of look to him for making the big play for us. (LB) Stewart Bradley, the guy in the middle who comes from Nebraska, that was kind of the role that they all had to play anyway. You just never know who can arise as that big leader on the defense, but I think Quintin Mikell can definitely handle that in the secondary. Not really to fill the shoes of Dawk because that's hard to fill, but just kind of to do what everyone expects from Quintin."

On Westbrook's recovery: "I don't know much about the injury he had. I know that they have been rehabbing it all throughout the offseason. He's told me that he is definitely excited about the rehab they've been doing. We all have confidence that he'll come back and come back strong. I think it'll be important for us not to kind of bury (RB) LeSean (McCoy) into the ground, of just kind of pushing him to do everything right now so that he'll burn out later. You get guys like (RB) Lorenzo Booker. You get guys like (FB) Leonard Weaver who can definitely help out in so many ways in that aspect, especially Weaver because he can play the tailback position. So, when we go single back we can use him a little bit more to take the pressure off both of them. It'll be important for us to make sure that we provide that information for those guys so they'll be ready when the guys come."

On whether he feels that his leadership position has evolved even more with those guys leaving: "I thought it evolved from pretty much my second or third year on. Again, I think one thing that people fail to realize is that you want to be yourself first. You don't want to do anything out of body, so to speak. So, when you do something that people aren't used to, people kind of look at you sideways and try to figure out why it is that you're doing that. I'm not here to be Dawk. I'm not here to be Jon or Tra or any of those guys. First and foremost, I'm going to be myself. Secondly, sometimes you have to change -- showing them a different side and then they understand how serious you are. I'm not going to be coming out of the tunnel and jumping around like Dawk or yelling or banging people's heads against my helmet. It's all a communication, making sure everyone understands their roles and what we're supposed to be doing and making sure I'm doing my stuff at a high level as well."

On whether he finds himself a little cautiously optimistic about summarizing the team at this time of the year: "I think it's important at this point because we have a lot of young faces. We have a lot of new faces and for me to sit here and say, 'Hey we're a Super Bowl team and we're going to win the Super Bowl.' I don't believe in all that. I think that's something that at the end of the year we'll find out who wins and who doesn't. I think we have a great team. We have some great athletes here, but we have to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And if we can do that, hopefully we can ride on and take it and be able to finish this thing off in Miami."

On this being his 11th camp, and whether he does anything differently to prepare for training camp: "I think it's just more of making sure that everyone is kind of comfortable being here, first and foremost. For the veterans, we all know about Lehigh and the good times we've had here. For the younger guys, making sure that they understand that it's football first -- don't get caught up in being away from home and all of this hoopla and focus in on what we are doing here and let them know that we can have fun. Lehigh is a great time. They do a great job of just making sure that we are comfortable here. I enjoy being here. The people here in Bethlehem definitely take care of us. We have enjoyable times."

On whether he has any feeling about what should happen with Michael Vick: "I have no idea. I know that he is able to train now with Tom Shaw. He's been doing that, I believe, for almost a week now. He's been working with Shaw at his house for what they could do at that particular point. I'm looking forward to him being reinstated and being able to have an opportunity to get back on his feet and play football again."

On whether he thinks Vick should be suspended anymore: "No. Not at all."

On how WR Kevin Curtis looked at practice today and whether he can sympathize with him since he had a similar injury: "I've always felt that after that particular injury it takes about close to a year (to recover), and I think for a setback of having to go back into surgery, or whatever he had to do with Dr. Myers, that's tough. I believe that (Ravens TE) L.J. (Smith) is going through it right now as well. I've just been fortunate enough to avoid that aspect. I thought today he looked great. Communicating with him throughout the offseason, I know that he rehabbed well and just kind of focused on getting stronger and getting the flexibility back in the groin area. I just hope we all can stay healthy this year and kind of feed off what we were able to do last year, from the middle of the season on."

On how big of an adjustment is it to have a new left tackle:"It's a big adjustment because that communication has to be there. I have to have a great feel of his kickbacks, or if he's getting the inside rush, how he's going to be able to force them inside. If they have a looper, will that give me an opportunity to step-slide left in the pocket, how he's going to be able to adjust. He's going to have to be able to pick up on the cadence and a lot of different things that we do from quarterback to running back communication, and it's going to take time. It's going to take some time. (It's) a little different than being in Buffalo with communication and that whole aspect of it of what (QB) Trent Edwards and (QB) J.P. Losman were doing. I just kind of (need to) make sure that he's comfortable and he understands kind of the way that I approach it, if I slide left or if I kind of roll out left due to pressure, where he's going to be. We kind of tried to break down that barrier of it, but it's going to take time. The only way he'll be able to pick up on it is in game situations or scrimmages out here."

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