Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich



Q. When the news of the Sam Bradford trade comes down to you, what's the immediate thought process of how to get QB Carson Wentz ready?**

FRANK REICH: One step at a time. It's a long process that started the day we drafted Carson. That preparation process starts [then] and it just continues with obviously a different role from him moving from [the] Third Team up to [the] First Team. No one was expecting it, but with every move that gets made, you look forward to the moves that are made and you look forward to working with the guys that are going to be here, so that's the mindset going forward.

Q. Is Wentz ready?

FRANK REICH: Yeah, I mean, that's why he's here. When you look and evaluate Carson, if there's 5-to-7 key boxes that you're trying to check off for a guy that can come in and be an elite quarterback, he checks off all the boxes. Furthermore, if you're scoring on all those boxes on a 1-to-10 scale, he scores a nine or 10 on a lot of those boxes. But all that being said, it's probably the most difficult position to play in sports and there are so many factors that go into it. There's no doubt in my mind that he's ready to play, but there's so many factors that can happen and we'll see how it all plays out. We're just very confident and excited about what's coming up.

Q. Was there a moment over the last three weeks or so where you realized, 'Hey, this kid's ready?' If so, when this news came down from the personnel department, did that moment make you comfortable in going with Carson?

FRANK REICH: When we evaluated him, I felt he was always ready. That didn't always mean -- I was always 100 percent behind Coach Pederson's [Eagles head coach Doug Pederson] plan; I thought it was a great plan. I think that plan was working out exactly how Coach Pederson wanted it to work out. I think the steadfastness of his leadership and the vision that he had was playing out just how he envisioned it. Nobody can predict the things that happen and the moves that you have to make: [the moves] that Howie [Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman] and Doug had to make [to do] what was best for the team at the time. You can't predict some of those things. But I think Doug's leadership was clear and the vision was good, and now you just adapt. That's the ongoing part of this business that you have to be able to do. I have always felt that whenever Carson got his chance, whether it was next year or Game 3 or Game 10, I've always felt he would be ready. Or even for Game 1, I feel he'll be ready.

Q. What happens on Sundays that he can't prepare for and that you can't simulate in practice?

FRANK REICH: You know, just the ebb and flow of the game and the ups and downs. The speed of the game -- he's seeing it against our defense all the time. Not that it's live. Some guys just have that. Some guys just have what it takes. Some guys can translate it. It doesn't matter what level you've played on; you have qualities that make you a great player and that's what we think we have in Carson. But he's like anybody else, he has to go out and prove it. It's a long season and it begins this Sunday and we're all excited about that.

Q. When you say he checks off as a nine or 10 on a bunch of the quarterback evaluation boxes, what would those boxes be?

FRANK REICH: I mean, a lot -- He's 6-5, 240 pounds, and he's got very, very good athletic ability for the position. I mean, for any position. But this is a big man's game; this is a physical game. So when you have that kind of athleticism and that kind of size, and then you work that along with what I would say [are] very high grades in processing speed and intelligence, and then leadership, and you know, play-making ability, and all those other x-factors, I just think those are a lot of good things to check off.

Q. What's the plan this week for WR Dorial Green-Beckham?

FRANK REICH: Just to continue to build. Again, we've said before that when he's out on the field, I think defenses know he's on the field. I think our quarterbacks know and I think our whole team knows when he's on the field. He's that kind of a presence. It comes down to playmakers, and really the way we define that is, how do you make an explosive play on first or second down? And then play-making really gets defined on third down and in the red zone: keeping drives alive and getting the ball in the end zone. If you're going to start to piecemeal a guy in who has that kind of ability, you want him to [make] difference-making kind of plays, so those will be key.

Q. We saw the jump ball in the end zone that Green-Beckham caught in Indianapolis. That's type of play is all about timing. How often have Wentz and Green-Beckham worked on that?

FRANK REICH: When throwing a fade ball, there's a certain [element that] you've got to throw it to the same guy again and again, but [sometimes it comes down to the idea that] a fade ball is a fade ball and some quarterbacks have a natural touch and feel for it. I think Carson loves throwing the fade ball and has a natural touch and feel for it. So the confidence will build with a guy like DGB [Green-Beckham] the more you throw it to him, but some of it is just DGB's ability to go up and get it. He's been doing this for a long time and he's been running those kinds of routes for a long time, so I think it's a quick transition.

Q. Schematically, what do you expect from Browns Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton's defense?

FRANK REICH: I coached with Ray for one year in Arizona [Arizona Cardinals] and he's from that [former Steelers defensive coordinator and current Titans assistant/head coach/defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau [coaching] tree. I have a lot of respect for Ray. He's a really good football coach and I know him well. He has a pretty sophisticated blitz package that Pittsburgh [the Pittsburgh Steelers] has always had and that Ray has now put his own little twist on it. He's not afraid to be aggressive and attack. Just very well coached and a lot of good schemes for a lot of years.

Q. The Browns have something like 17 rookies and 10 second-year guys on their roster. Does that make it challenging to prepare for them personnel-wise?

FRANK REICH: A little bit, because part of the game is scheme and part of the game is matchups. When you play earlier in the year, you just don't have as much tape on teams as obviously you have when you get into it further. But you get what you can. They have the same problem there. They have the same problem looking at us. That's just part of the nature of it.

Q. Doug Pederson talked about Wentz not fighting for that extra yard right now and that it's not the NFC title game. With a guy with his ability to run, how much do you need to manage within his game to not fight for that extra yard?

FRANK REICH: I know Coach [Pederson] has been talking to Carson about that from the day he got here. I know I've been talking to him about that and so has Coach DeFilippo [quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo]. Carson has not played as much in preseason as we all thought he was going to play to show that he's kind of got that message. So, we'll see. I mean, I think he has gotten the message. I think he's a very smart guy and he understands the role and responsibility that he has to give himself the best chance to stay healthy, and I expect him to do that. Now, you know, he is who he is; sometimes you're going to try to make an aggressive play. But I think we'll see that he's gotten that message.

Q. What are your options at fullback now that TE Chris Pantale didn't make the team?

FRANK REICH: You know, we'll mix some things up. We'll use our three tight end package in ways that we have always used it and that you see. You can always move [TE] Trey [Burton] back there. We can find other offensive or defensive linemen to kind of put back there in specialty situations. So, we'll just continue to build that fullback package small, piece-by-piece, as we go.

Q. RB Darren Sproles obviously wasn't used much in preseason. Do you have a sense of all that he can do based on practice?

FRANK REICH: That's the good thing about a guy who has been around playing at a high level as long as Sproles has been. A lot of things on tape; know the kind of routes he's good at; know how to isolate him and use his strengths. [We] certainly plan on trying to do that in any every we can.

Q. For Carson's first game, do you have to balance a little bit getting the game plan ready but maybe keeping some things simple, especially because he didn't get to play much during the preseason?

FRANK REICH: Yeah, and I think that would have been most teams' game plan for Week 1 is you've got all this install in training camp; you run all your base offense; you don't show a whole lot in preseason. So, you want to keep it simple and play fast. That would have been the case anyway no matter who was playing quarterback. Certainly is true with Carson, but that's for all of our players. I don't think the amount of stuff that's in the plan is going to be an issue for Carson. I mean, the guy is -- I can't emphasize how smart this guy is. He is off the charts smart, just plain smart. Like smart, smart. But on top of that, the football IQ and the acumen are just way high, way, way high.

Q. What is the biggest concern for you of having him start so early?

FRANK REICH: Like any young player, trying to do too much too fast; trying to understand that not every play is the play of the game; that you've got to sometimes live to play another play. This is true for any young player: You don't have to be the hero. You don't have to be the hero. Just play good football. Be disciplined. You can be a great instinctive athlete and be able to do all kinds of things, but you still have to play good, disciplined football – play within the system. You've got good players around you; you're on a good team; you're in a good organization. Just do your job and do it well, execute. As Coach Stout [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] says all the time, 'Execution fuels emotion.' We know he's a passionate, high-energy guy. Well, there's nothing that builds excitement and energy and passion on the football field like execution. So, at the end of the day, you can bring all those things to the table, but you have to execute the offense, play-by-play, first down by first down, and then get the ball in the end zone. And so we just want to keep it simple, keep focused on executing – execute the offense, whatever it calls for. Doug has brought a great system; we've got a lot of reps in it, a lot of mental reps, a lot of tape study. Just run our offense and execute it well and good things will happen.

Q. When you think back to January, February, do you recall the first time you saw Wentz on film and what you thought then?

FRANK REICH: To me, one of the things that jumps out the first time I watched Carson's college tape was he just -- his size and his strength and his athleticism, and then just this natural play-making ability. He just had that instinct and feel that you look for in a guy. And he just wasn't a guy who was big and strong and could run and was athletic. This was a guy that you could tell was in control. When you watched his film and you look at his body movements, when you look at the body language … When you're around this game a long time and you've seen the elite guys do it a long time, there's a body language, there are body movements. You watch 80 plays in a college game and then there are 10 plays that you say, 'No one else can do that,' and that's what an NFL quarterback looks like and that's just what continually jumped off the tape. You watch 10 games and each game there's 10 plays that you say, 'That's what makes him the No. 2 pick in the draft.' He gets a chance to show that now at the next level.

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