The theme of Andy Reid’s day-after news conference was “no excuses” as the coach looked back on the Eagles’ 24-0 shutout loss to Dallas and looked ahead to Saturday’s NFC wild-card game against those same Cowboys.
“There are no excuses for anything here,” Reid said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting our players in the right position and our players have to do a better executing. We’ve been doing a pretty good job to this point. I’m not going to can all that and make a lot of changes. We just have to do better.”
Reid also repeated often that the problems the Eagles had are things that can be corrected.
“The things that can be improved on from a coaching standpoint, substitutions, timeouts – again are my responsibility -- play calls and then performance by the players, dropped balls, turnovers in the red zone, penalties, missed tackles. Those things we need to get corrected. They all can be corrected. We’ll go back to the drawing board and get better.”
Reid said the first step was acknowledging the problems, what he called not “hiding the facts.”
“They were the better team yesterday,” he said. “You don’t hide that fact. You get back to business and do it in a very matter of fact way. If you get caught up in all the what-ifs and this and that, you’re making a mistake. You don’t have time for that. It’s a hurried-up week. We have to get back on the horse and figure out how not to get bucked off again.”
Asked about playing the Cowboys in back-to-back weeks, Reid cited the simple fact that the Eagles are in the postseason.
“Familiarity is the primary thing, but at this point, you’re in the playoffs. It’s a single-elimnination tournament. You don’t care who you play or where. You’re in …
There’s a positive to this among the negative. Positive is you are in the playoffs. It’s very seldom you get to play a team that just got after you. We’ve got that opportunity to correct ourselves. That’s the approach I expect this team to take. With leadership on this team, that will take place.”
Reid was asked about Donovan McNabb's postgame comment about the Eagles' showing their youth.
"I think it’s all of us. I don’t think it’s one group.," Reid said. "I’m an old guy and I could have done better. We’re all in the same boat here, man. We’ve got to pick our game up. That’s what we have to do."
He also was asked about McNabb's struggles with plays he usually makes, but in his response he broadened beyond McNabb.
"They are going to happen," Reid siad. "You’re not going to get hit every opportunity. In big games, the coaches have got to coach good, the players have to play good and that’s everybody, whether that’s to win the NFC East or now in the playoffs. That’s what we’ve done over the years. When we’re in big games, we played and coached well. We have to go back to that. That’s the challenge for this week."
On some other issues:
DeSean Jackson's groin: "He feels pretty good today. I don’t think it’s real serious. We have a few nicks and bruises, things you have to work through at this time of year."
Michael Vick's status: "I didn’t feel as comfortable with him running the football. He was right on the edge. I want to make sure if given the opportunity to carry the football, he doesn’t hurt himself. It’s a judgment call on my side."
False-start penalties and the revamped offensive line: "I didn’t think it was the noise level. Some of it was concentration. We’ve had a few those throughout the season. I’d like to tell you it’s the center. We can do better there ... I thought Nick [Cole] did a respectable job there. He actually played pretty well. Max [Jean Gillies] was OK too."
Brian Westbrook and only 10 running plays by the Eagles overall: "The more Brian plays, the better he will play. We’ll take care of that whole rotational thing. It got a little bit skewed with the score. As I said, there were bunch of things we could have done better. I mentioned playcalling. We probably could have called a few more runs."
Middle linebacker situation: "Akeem [Jordan], it's a new postion for him. He's getting back into the swing of things. We’ve been rotating him in. I thought Trot brought a lot of energy at that particular point in the game."
EAGLES IN LONDON?
There is speculation that the Eagles game at San Francisco will be moved to London next season.
Niners president Jed York did not seem opposed to the idea when asked about it recently by the Sacramento Bee, but he also said that the team had not been approached. An announcement is expected in February.
Eagles in New Orleans?
If the Eagles do somehow win in Dallas, they will play the divisional round at New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 16, an Eagles spokesman said.