Monday, August 22, 2005

McNabb news conference

From the Eagles:

On whether he feels the offense is where they should be after the Baltimore preseason game:
“Well, as a whole I think we’ve done an excellent job of just being able to execute, sustain drives, come up with big plays, and obviously you want to continue to improve. But I think that it’s kind of my motto of this year of just being consistent. I think we’re pretty much consistent on the offensive line, the wide receiver position and the running back position and so on. This is a time to get better and we try to use this preseason as kind of a stepping stone to take short steps to be ready by the time the season comes around. I think offensive line wise, they’ve done an excellent job of just communicating, forming that chemistry, obviously with [T] Todd [Herremans] stepping in there for [T] Tra [Thomas], it seems like they haven’t missed too much of a beat. But when the big guy gets back he’ll be ready to go, as well as the rest of the offensive line, so it’s exciting to see what they’ve been doing.”

On whether it is a good thing to play tough defenses like Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the preseason:
“I think it’s important that we be able to run our offense and to execute. And when you look at the teams that we’ve played, both being in the top 5 defenses, the way we’ve kind of answered their questions to the blitz, it says a lot about this team. Questions have been floating around about what we were going to be able to do and how we were going to be able to handle the situation. I think we’ve stepped up to the challenge and just were able to spread the ball around and give guys opportunities. In this past game we weren’t able to throw as many passes as we did in the first week, but we still were able to execute. You’re talking about two defenses that have been doing a great job for the last couple years. Either you’re ranked #1 like Pittsburgh, or somewhere in the top 5 or top 6 like Baltimore. It says a lot about exactly what we’ve been doing over here and again, we look to improve.”

On whether he thinks it’s important for him and WR Terrell Owens to get on the field in a preseason game together:
“I think it’s very important that we be able to get some work. It’s valuable time right now, what we’re doing out on the practice field. But once we get out on the playing field, we want to keep that same mentality that what we’ve done in practice is the same thing we’ve done in a game. If that can continue to be instilled in our minds and our play, then we shouldn’t have a problem.”

On whether there was any particular reason he couldn’t get WR Reggie Brown the ball in the Baltimore game:
“Well, a lot of the plays we were calling weren’t Reggie being the first read. I think it’s kind of tough to say from the outside when you see a guy get 5 or 6 catches in the first game, and then in the second game he may not get a lot of opportunities. I think really [WR] Greg Lewis in the first group was one of the only receivers to get catches. We only threw 9 passes. A couple of them were to the tight ends. [RB Brian] Westbrook caught a couple. The list goes on, but again, it’s tough to say with 9 attempts, why a receiver wasn’t able to get the ball. It’s still early and again, we’re still going through our offense.”

On what receivers move up the depth chart with the injury to WR Justin Jenkins:
“[WR] Carlos [Perez] has stepped in a couple of times and worked with the 1’s and when we go 3 or 4 wide. So we’ve got a pretty decent feel with Carlos. Obviously it’s a little different in game situation, but for the young guys, this is an opportunity for them. We’ve always said that the worst thing that can happen is injury. And if a guy goes down you have to have the confidence that the next guy can step in and make something happen. The good thing about it for us is that Carlos has been rotating in there with myself, as well as with [QB] Koy [Detmer] and [QB Mike] McMahon. So we were able to get a little timing with him. But you never know what could happen in the next couple of weeks.”

On how he would assess the progress with all of the receivers:
“I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job. But again, it’s hard to evaluate after two weeks. I’m not going to sit here and say that our timing is great, or we’re right where we want to be. We want to continue to be as good as we set out to be. We’re out here to try and be the best at what we do and the only way to be able to do that is to work. We’re taking time right now to just make sure and understand that this is valuable time, continue to go out and practice to get our timing and chemistry. Then we get out on the playing field just the same way.”

On whether he would like to see another veteran WR on the team:
“It’s not my call. The guys that we have here, I have full confidence in. So, if we decide to just roll with the guys that we have here, we have to make it work. This is something that we’ve been doing and we’ve kind of had our minds on in the offseason, while we worked together in Arizona. If they decide to make a change and bring someone else in, then again, we’ve got to start all over and work with that guy as well.”

On whether Jenkins was making progress:
“I think he was taking some big strides. I’ve always mentioned Justin and I’ve always mentioned [WR] Billy [McMullen]. I think everyone had an idea about [WR] Greg [Lewis]. It wasn’t kind of a secret anymore about Greg. It was just kind of a question about Billy, and who would be the next guy, and behind Justin, who’s next? So, it was just interesting to see the way that he was improving, his work ethic. Justin worked extremely hard this offseason. Billy worked extremely hard this offseason and we were looking for big things to happen with those guys. In practice and also in the games, I think they made some big strides and were able to continue to improve. Now that Justin is hurt someone else is going to have to step in. But we look forward to the guys that we have, and if we decide to make some changes, the same thing with those guys as well.”

On how he would describe TE Stephen Spach:
“Anytime a young guy comes into camp or is asked to be the #2 tight end, that’s a lot of pressure on him. Just for the young guys that have come in, [TE] Andy Thorn and Steve Spach, those guys have worked extremely hard. Spach has moved up to #2 and he’s handling it well. He learned the offense. He knows what he’s doing. He has confidence. He’s catching the ball as you can see. We mess with those guys a lot, and that’s just kind of to ease the pain. You know that their minds are kind of racing right now. But again, we just kind of want them to be relaxed and go out and play, and Spach is doing an excellent job with that.”

On whether that describes Spach’s quiet nature:
“I haven’t gotten a chance to know him like that yet. But he seems to like taking long walks in the park and smelling roses, reading novels under trees (jokingly). I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s a quiet guy or a loud guy. I kind of let him handle that on the side. But when we’re on the football field he’s doing a good job.”

On whether he is surprised at Spach’s success in the passing game being that he came from a running offense at Fresno State:
“No, not necessarily. You don’t have to catch 100 balls for people to believe you can catch. From what I understand, being at Fresno, he was doing a lot of max protection, to try and help [Houston Texans QB] David Carr when David was there. And I’m sure the offense was the same when the next guy stepped in. Our scouting department has seen something in Spach, brought him in and he’s been doing a good job for us. I guess one thing we do know, he can block. He didn’t catch so many passes at Fresno, but he’s doing a great job catching the ball for us as well.”

On what goes through the NFL fraternity when a fellow player passes away:
“As a player as well as a human being, that’s an unfortunate situation for the player, as well as the family. Being part of the football family, it’s something you don’t want to see, one of your fellow brothers going down. You never know what the cause was. But to go down after playing a game that he dreamed of playing, that’s tough. We send prayers out to his family because it’s a tough situation. We send prayers out to his teammates and the organization. Again, not knowing what the cause was, but that’s something that’s tough. I think it’s something that all of us are going through right now across the league.”


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