Coach Andy Reid
Re: C Dallas Reynolds:
He was a three-year practice squad player. He got in the weight room and got stronger. That’s what really happened. He came out and had a good training camp. He is a big kid. He moves around pretty well. I think he had everybody’s confidence that he could play that position.
How hard is it to evaluate how much a player has left to play in their career? How hard is it getting rid of a veteran?
There are a variety of things that go into it. I am not going to get into it. You have to evaluate a whole lot of things. That’s the hardest part about the job. It’s absolutely the hardest part. That’s what it is. That’s where I will go with that. You guys can fill in the blanks.
Re: Steelers defense with
They are good no matter who is in there. You add those two in there, those are two great players. I know they are going to play. They have a great defensive coordinator in Dick LeBeau. He’s one of the best ever. They have good football players. They believe in LeBeau, they believe in his system and they play hard. You add those two in the mix, two of his core guys. I know they mean a lot to him and them.
Bill Cowher went into television after winning a Super Bowl and he hasn’t come back to the game. Is that what keeps you coaching?
[Laughs] I am not as pretty as Cowher.
Re: Defensive ends and cornerbacks success:
It’s a combination of things. Just like the Steelers defense would say. It’s a combination of things that equal sacks. I give my defensive line credit, and they would give the secondary credit. That’s just how it works. If the quarterback has all day to throw or he has to get the ball out quick, they work together in creating those.
What have you seen from
He’s playing great football right now. Nobody extends the play like he does. His third-down stats are out of this world.
How do you stop the Steelers’ receivers?
They have very good wide receivers. I will have to wait until Sunday to tell you that.
Re: Sticking with the running game in the second half of your last contest:
We ran the ball pretty well. You have to have a mix and a blend. Mostly you have to get some form of rhythm going. We were able to get it going, which is something we didn’t do very well the week before.
Re: Your third-down success on defense versus their third-down success on offense:
I think it’s a great challenge for our defense. If you play a team that is as good as the Steelers are on third downs, you have to step your game up. That’s what this game is all about.
Re: How Michael Vick uses Brent Celek:
Vick has used Celek well [this season] and he has used him well, probably since midseason last year. That’s our responsibility as coaches. We did a few more things with Celek than we did up to that point. We utilized him since that point on.
Has anything changed with LeSean McCoy this year, or is he just getting more of an opportunity?
He went to the University of Pittsburgh. He was a good running back in college and he carried it to this league. Every year he becomes more familiar with the offense and the offensive line. I think he will become better. He is still young. I guess there is a point where you start moving backwards but he is still young and moving ahead.
Is his blocking better this year?
He had such good numbers last year. You have to tip your hat to the offensive line. You have to compliment them for that. You can’t do it alone. He would be the first one to tell you. Since he got here, he focused on becoming a better pass blocker and he’s done a better job.
Is there one common theme that separates good quarterbacks from average ones?
Winning a lot of games.
Anything other than that?
They do more than just play the position. They present a certain confidence to your whole football team. They are going to get the job done. That’s a unique quality to have. The great ones have that.
Re: Coaching for Philadelphia for so long:
I have a good owner, which the Steelers also have. Our owner has trusted me for a lot of years. I’ve been surrounded by good players, coaches and good front office people. I have the best media in the world.
Do your cornerbacks stay on one receiver or do they switch sides on the field?
We mix it up a little bit. Sometimes we match, sometimes we don’t. How about that for a picket-fence answer?
Have you enjoyed a long run in Philadelphia or have you just been there a long time.
I love it. I enjoy it every day. I feel very honored to be a head coach in this league and to be in a city that is as passionate about the game.
What’s the most impressive part of Vick’s season?
He didn’t play much in the preseason. You remember our game. He got banged up a little bit. He hadn’t played a lot of snaps during the preseason. Just his perseverance to get through it and knock the rust off, and to win football games, coming down to the last drives of games, that’s impressive. We kind of got it going here this past week. I think he is starting to feel more comfortable. We know we have a big challenge.
The other guys are all good football players. They can bring in guys that can still tote the mail. Mendenhall was a high pick. He was great in college and he’s been great in Pittsburgh. He’s a good football player.
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Is there anything special about coming back to Pittsburgh?
For sure, I have tons of tickets. I have to get ready for this Sunday. A lot of my old teachers, friends and coaches will be at the game. I’m excited to be back.
Re: Keys to the Eagles successful running game thus far:
We’ve been sticking with it. The guys up front are blocking very well and giving me some creases to run through and one-on-one opportunities with the defenders. We’ve just been rolling. I think so far we’ve been very productive offensively, especially in the running game.
Re: Being committed to the running game against the Giants after struggling in the first half:
A lot of that has to do with myself. Sometimes I get so carried away with trying to make yards and plays on my own instead of just sticking with the runs. The offensive line opens up some great holes, and I have to be patient and let things develop for me.
Re: Winning a few close games so far this season:
It shows what type of character we have. Coach Reid is always stressing that nothing will be easy. Going in there, battling and even in close games, I’m a big believer in good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose. Last year, some of these tough games we would have lost. There’s a difference, and we’re a little more focused this year.
Re: Difference in focus between this season and last season:
I think there’s focus as a team, getting to crunch time, even with all the mistakes, just focusing and capitalizing when we need to. Getting the stops on defense and getting the ball and putting up points during the game.
Have you stayed in a lot on third downs this year?
I don’t really know what percentage but I’m in there a lot. We throw the ball quite a bit so a lot of the protections I’m in there for.
What has prevented such a talented offense from scoring points?
Turnovers are our biggest thing. Moving the ball has not been a problem at all. The problem is having too many turnovers – getting the ball down there, throwing a pick, guys fumbling the ball, by myself and other players. I think it’s all of that together. Also, we’ve had some penalties.
What is your favorite Heinz Field memory?
I have so many. Number one would have to be beating West Virginia. It was my last game at Heinz Field and beating West Virginia, that was big fun.
What type of reception do you expect from the fans?
I am a Philadelphia Eagle and this is a big game for the fans. They’re 1-2 and this is a big game for them. They never have a record like that. They’re always winning. They’re a tough team. I hope the fans react well but I won’t be mad if they don’t.
Re: The Steelers have given up big plays in their two losses:
They looked good though when I watched the tape. Everything you read about the Steelers being physical, you see it on tape. You see their speed also. It doesn’t help that they lost James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, two of the best players in the league. I am sure they will be fine when they get those guys back. I am sure it will help their team out a lot.
What would it mean to rush for 100 yards against the Steelers?
It would mean a lot to get those yards, but I think the biggest thing is just winning the game, especially against an opponent like them. They are in a tough division. We already got a win versus Baltimore.
How does Vick’s presence dictate what the team does in the running game?
He is going to make plays. Certain teams strategize on how to stop him. He finds a way to get it done. We have so many playmakers. That’s what makes us tough. I think we are a big play kind of team. His ability to get big plays and big yards is big. A defense like theirs will find to get stops sometimes. We have to find ways to get more positive plays than negatives.
Is your offense designed for the running game to set-up the passing game?
Definitely, we do throw the ball a lot and I feel like we do call enough runs to stay balanced enough. I think with this offense a screen can be just as good as a run, by throwing the ball to the backs, giving them one-on-one opportunities, but also by throwing the ball deep. We just do a great job of mixing it up. I think [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] does a good job of running it enough and throwing it enough.
Has the sprint-draw play been tough to run since the offensive line has had some injuries?
I don’t think so. I think everybody has the opportunity when a guy goes down or gets banged up. It’s a trust thing. I think the biggest thing is that Coach Reid knew that we would have times where we’re probably banged-up. In the backfield, we have a lot of depth and also on the line.
Re: Importance of a running back getting a lot of touches during a game:
It gets the back a lot more comfortable. The more touches he gets the more comfortable he gets, he figures out the defense, he sees where the line’s blocking and where the weakness is in the defense. Then again, some teams don’t need to run it that much for their guys to get comfortable. I’m one of those guys where I don’t need one hundred carries to get warmed up. I’ve been in this offense so long that I’m used to it. That’s how we work. I think every back and every team is different.