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Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich




These past few weeks, what kind of work have you done with QB Carson Wentz behind the scenes when he's not on the field?

FRANK REICH: Carson spent a lot of time in the film room; extra time in the film room. And then even out on the practice field just asking a lot of questions, always staying tuned into the script, always watching [QB] Sam [Bradford], [QB] Chase [Daniel] and [QB] McLeod [Bethel-Thompson], getting the reps and then talking things through. Talking things through out on the field, you can get something done.

You've been with WR Dorial Green-Beckham now for a couple days. What has he shown you so far? What is the plan for him Saturday night?

FRANK REICH: He looks good. Just continue to build, build, continue to build. [We] got him in for a few plays last week. He's an impressive, physical specimen, obviously. It's funny: You stand out there as a coach and they're running routes on air and sometimes as a coach you stand across from the receivers that are running at you. And when he runs at you, his size and speed, it just kind of grabs you. So [I'm] really excited about having him here. Just like anybody else though, it's a process. It's a process and we keep giving them little chunks at a time to allow him to play fast and use his ability.

What stood out for you from Week 1 to Week 2, just the total package of the offense?

FRANK REICH: I thought the pass protection was really good in Week 2. I thought the offensive line did a really good job; the backs did a good job. We just have to eliminate the penalties. I know it's been talked about a lot. It just kills drives. You're getting second-and-long, third-and-long. We can overcome some of those – we have to overcome some of those – but as an offense, you can't put yourself in those positions. So, we have to minimize those things. There are no excuses for it, and we just have to execute.

What kind of evaluation have you been able to make on RB Wendell Smallwood, despite the fact that he's missed so much?

FRANK REICH: It's a little bit harder with all the time that he's missed to evaluate. With a back and a runner, you just want to see him get the ball in his hands and see what he can do in traffic, inside; see his patience, his vision. But there's nothing you can do about it as a coach. You don't get too frustrated by it. You know injuries are a part of the game. Those guys take a lot of hits, so on and so forth. So we still have to be smart with them and continue that evaluation process and let him grow.

Head coach Doug Pederson said he needs to see some things from certain guys who have kind of been like part-time starters, WR Josh Huff being one of them. How important is this game going to be for him and maybe some other receivers?

FRANK REICH: Yeah, [in the] third preseason game obviously starters are getting a lot of reps, so it's important to show progress at all our positions – not just the wide receiver position. And I feel like the receivers have been showing that, as a group and individually.

So, even this week you game plan even a little bit more. This is kind of like an in-season week for us. Coach [Eagles head coach Doug Pederson] set it up so we prepare a little more like it's in-season, so [there's] a little bit more game planning. Not full bore, but get a chance to get some guys in position to make plays. Then we have to execute and then they've got to make the plays when they come to them.

Your first offensive unit didn't try to run the ball very much Thursday, but when it did, it wasn't real effective. Were you concerned about that at all? What did you make of that?

FRANK REICH: Pittsburgh traditionally has one of the best run defenses in the NFL. I mean, they have been for years. We still felt pretty good about our run game plan going in. Sometimes the flow of the game is kind of an odd game. Our defense did a good job, got the interception [and] returned for a touchdown, so [the Steelers] have the ball the whole first quarter.

We were executing a little bit in the pass game. I felt like we had an efficient pass game. [QB] Sam [Bradford] did a good job executing there. We spread the ball around. [We] had some of the penalties that stopped a few drives, but I feel very strong about the outlook of our run game. So I don't want to get too caught up with just one performance where we didn't quite get enough touches in the run game as we could.

How do you think G Dillon Gordon has done as a fullback?

FRANK REICH: I think he's done pretty well. Obviously, [when] you get that big body coming at you, that's a different thing for a linebacker seeing that guy coming at him. And I think he shows the athleticism. That's a positive thing. And really the vision that it takes to kind of fit up in the hole to get to the linebacker. I think he's been very solid.

Without having a lot of tape to go by from last year, has RB Kenjon Barner exceeded your expectations?

FRANK REICH: I think Kenjon has had really good OTAs in the offseason and training camp. And obviously he's shined in special teams, as well. Kenjon, I think he's a good runner. I think he has an elusiveness to him that obviously shows as a punt returner. So when you get him in the back field out in space, whether it's catching a pass out of the back field or get him on the edge running the football. But he's had a nice couple of inside runs as well. That's important.

The other element that he's continued to impress is in the protection element. He knows what he's doing in protection. I can't emphasize that enough. I've said it before over the last couple weeks, but it's just so important in any offense that the backs fully understand all the protection calls, what's going on, because it all starts in the passing game with protecting the passer, and the backs are a big part of that.

WR Jordan Matthews and QB Sam Bradford established some pretty good chemistry last season, particularly down the stretch. How much of that has been affected by Matthews missing so much time this summer?

FRANK REICH: I think obviously with all of our players who miss time, you don't like it, because every rep is so important. You can only get so many reps out there. But these guys have been around the block a little bit. They continue to talk. Jordan's that kind of guy that you never like not being out there, but he's so into it. He's so into practice. Even when he's not getting the reps, he's so into it in the meetings – engaged, asking questions, talking to Sam all the time. So, you make the best of a tough situation.

If you look at G Isaac Seumalo, what has he done to earn first-team snaps?

FRANK REICH: I think one of the things is just that he's an explosive athlete for his position. I think one of the positive steps Isaac made was from Week 1 to Week 2 – he showed that athletic ability and why you draft him where we did. But I thought he was more consistent in Week 2. In the first game, there were two or three kind of bad mistakes; this game there was fewer. There was probably one bad mistake. So showing that improved consistency was a good step, and that's been showing up in practice.

Last year in San Diego you had a running back that was among your leaders in receptions. Looking at the personnel that you have here, do you see guys that you would use in a Danny Woodhead-type of role?

FRANK REICH: Well, Sproles [RB Darren Sproles] is the original, right? He's the original guy. He's the prototype. Right from the start, I remember coming in some of the immediate talk was the excitement of how we get to use a guy like Darren Sproles. But all the backs have shown a good aptitude to pick things up in the pass game and be good route runners so we think we can mix it up. But certainly Darren, he's the starting point, and there's a lot of ways to utilize that.

In [Eagles head coach] Doug's [Pederson] offense, they've done that in the past. We'll continue to mix in some other things that we've all done, that our staff has done to kind of isolate backs and get good match-ups. But you get a guy like '43' out there, I mean really, it's like every week in game planning it's like, 'How can we get this guy the football?' He's that kind of player.

What does Sam need to show you before Week 1?

FRANK REICH: He's showing us everything I expected him to show us. He's being who he is. [He's] an incredibly accurate passer. I really feel like he has command of the offense. He's come in and [with] this new offense, he's doing a great job. He's totally under control and poised. I just loved his demeanor on the sideline, getting to see him on the sideline. It's one thing out of practice, but just getting a feel for him on the sideline, during the game with the right temperament – it just feels right. This week he gets to play longer, so we got a number of snaps with him last week. You want to continue to show, which I think Sam has, overcoming the bad series. Because it happens, this is the NFL. So, there's going to be a series. He's great at protecting the football, but I'm sure somewhere along the year, he's going to throw an interception. 'How do we bounce back? Stay positive, and let's go.' He's shown that out in practice and I think we'll continue to see that.

You mentioned the importance of running backs being able to pass protect. Is that one of the main things that you'll be looking for from RB Wendell Smallwood when he finally does get in a game?

FRANK REICH: Absolutely. You don't want to be just a first- and second-down back. If you want to be on the field … I think we saw that on tape from him. Even though he was a great runner in college, you could see glimpses of it in the pass game. You could see it in protection that he was a willing blocker and that he had the aptitude when you talked to him kind of in the interviews and watched film with him. You could see that he sees it and he processes it. That's a very important part of it. So, his continued progress to get on the field, it's going to have to come in the passing game as well.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz just talked about how Stephen Tulloch has been in the league 10 years, and what respect he has for a guy that's done 10 years. You have one on offense in TE Brent Celek. Can you talk a little bit about, from someone who has played as long as you did and now coaching it, what's it like to get 10 years in this league?

FRANK REICH: Yeah, I think a guy like Brent Celek is truly one of the hallmark, one of the foundational leaders on this team. He just brings a steady presence on and off the field. But the thing that I've been most impressed about with Brent is he's still playing at a high level. For a guy who has had to play that position, as tough as that position is [with] all the running, all the blocking against big defensive [players] … He's outmatched on 50 percent of the blocks. He's blocking linebackers some of the time, but half the time he's blocking defensive ends. And he's still doing a good job. So for 10 years in the league … and I see no signs of his game diminishing at all. And then I've said this from the start, and I continue to see it: In the passing game, he's more than adequate. He still runs pretty good for a guy who's been in the league 10 years. He's a pro, and he's got that football toughness, attitude. So, I just love the presence and the leadership he brings to the offense.

How has G/T Allen Barbre handled the move out to right tackle?

FRANK REICH: I think he's handled it well. He's in a position where he gets to use his pass-blocking strength. He's got good feet. He has really good technique. So, if you have good feet and you have good technique, and then you have some toughness about you, you're going to be a good pass blocker. And you can see that in him – he's been well-trained and well-coached, but he has natural timing and instincts as a pass blocker. It's a little bit different out at the tackle position – there is a little bit more space between you and the defender. But he's a natural out there pass blocking. It's a little different from the tackle on some of the combination blocks in the run game. You've just got to get used to that again, and he's done it some but been mostly in at guard. So, you can see that coming back more and more.

From your time coaching RB Ryan Matthews with the Chargers until now, how have you seen him progress? What is the best way to use him?

FRANK REICH: I've always thought Ryan has that unique blend of speed and size, and then a physicality about him. That's his strength. That's how we have to use him. And I think as he has grown in this league and further in his career, he's gotten better in the passing game as well. I think [compared to] early on in his career, now we're not afraid to have him out there on the pass down. So in the run game, we know what we're going to get. He's got speed, he's got explosiveness, and he's got a physicality, and I think the offensive line really likes that. When you get a back who runs hard, is a physical runner, I think that kind of energizes your whole offense.

You said we are going to see the first-team offense more this game than any preseason game. For fans that are going to get to see them for the first time in an extended period, what do you want to see? What should they expect to see?

FRANK REICH: Consistency. Two things: Consistency and we've got to score. It's great if the special teams and defense keep scoring for us. We'll take that all year long and won't apologize for that. We'll ride that horse all the way if we have to. That's been a good start for us as a team. And our offense at times has taken advantage of some of the turnovers. But you need to be consistent. You need be able to sustain drives. You need to be you need to be great at situational football.

Last week we had a good outing on third down; converted over 50 percent on third down. That's winning football against a good defensive scheme. I know they didn't play their starters the whole time, but we've got to be good on third down, we've got to be good in the red zone and then we've got to make something happen in two minute. We were able to do that last week a little bit. So, those are the signs I think we're looking for this week against the Colts because I think that's what it ultimately takes to win consistently week-in and week-out.

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