Andy Reid loves the Wildcat, loves his Wildcat and won't let anyone take it away from him. The Eagles coach held his day-after press conference today -- this one coming after the an embarrassing 48-22 loss to the Saints -- and Reid was very defensive about his use of the Wildcat.
"Let me help you with the Wildcat ... whatever term you want to give the thing," Reid said. "It averaged 5.7 yards per carry and was very productive. I think we had five first downs with it. ... There was some good things from it."
Reid was then asked why he used so much Wildcat when he has been such a long-time proponent of the west coast offense, which he ran plenty of yesterday.
"I decided it was another little wrinkle we could use," Reid said. "We've done a few gadget plays over the years and had some success with them. Every game we have one or two in there. I thought this could help us in the run game and the pass game in some areas. But again, just picking and choosing and using it in a limited way."
Reid ran 12 plays out of the formation, with wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back Brian Westbrook lining up in the shotgun as the 'Wildcat.' The longest result was a 16-yard run from Westbrook. Most of the plays went for anywhere in between seven and zero yards.
Reid reiterated his statement after the game that he didn't lean on the Wildcat because Kevin Kolb was making his first start at quarterback. He said he would have used those very same plays if Donovan McNabb had been healthy to go. It's fair to ask if the reason had anything to do with the running game's impotence.
Reid could not confirm that McNabb was out for Sunday's game against the Chiefs, however. He said his quarterback was making progress with a fractured rib. "There's a chance," Reid said. "I can't tell you that he could take a hit today. I don't feel that way about it now." Reid disputed a report that McNabb was out for Sunday.
If McNabb can't go, Kolb will earn his second start. Asked if Michael Vick was Kolb's backup, should he start, Reid said, "I can't tell you that. I don't know that right now." Jeff Garcia, by the way, is still on the roster.
Vick, meanwhile, is eligible to play for the first time since Dec. 2007. He was suspended for the first two games of the season. Reid wouldn't specify as to how he'll use his new toy, although he said that he doesn't believe Vick is ready enough to play in an entire game.
"We haven't even started on the game plan yet," Reid said. "We'll see how he does this week and see what he can handle in there."
Westbrook sprained his right ankle, the same ankle he had surgery on in the off-season. "We'll see how he does [this week]," Reid said. The coach was asked, in light of Westbrook's nagging injuries and his age, if he had to consider that his running back just wouldn't be able to carry the load he once did.
"I think he'll work through these things," Reid said. "Hopefully, as time goes on here -- again, I'm saying this because he didn't play much during the preseason and training camp -- he should be able to work through these and then get himself right where he can make it through the whole game."
Reid was also asked to clarify his decision to not play Stacy Andrews at guard on Sunday. On Friday he said there would be a three-guard rotation with Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles and Andrews. The only time Andrews got on the field was as part of the field goal and extra point units. Reid tried his best to explain his decision.
"The leg with time here is gradually fatigued," Reid said of Andrews' right knee which underwent surgery in January. "My feeling was as we went later in the week if we could hold him out some way of the game and allow that thing to strengthen up and bit maybe it pays off for us down the road."
Reid also explained why he carried ten defensive linemen and just four wide receivers in the game. Defensive end Victor Abiamiri came into the game with a groin injury and Reid wanted to make sure he had enough depth. Wide receivers Reggie Brown and Brandon Gibson both did not dress.
As for injuries, Reid said that Jackson has a groin strain and will be day to day. Cornerback Asante Samuel had a neck stinger in the game and should be OK. Todd Herremans is "making progress," Reid said, but the guard is out for Sunday's game. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson is slated to have hand surgery after he broke a bone in the game.