Andy Reid met with reporters for more than an hour Tuesday at the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans, touching on topics ranging from Kevin Kolb and his trade value to the futures of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson to proposed rule changes and the lockout.
UPDATE: We've also added some comments on Jamaal Jackson, the new coaching staff and an odd bit of history between Reid and Bill Belichick.
Every coach (except Belichick, who skipped the session) was there. Here are the highlights from the early portion of Reid's session. Some questions were repeated as various reporters came to Reid's table at different times. We opened with some easy stuff on the kickoff rule. The juicier Kolb, Vick, Jackson material is about five questions in.
Would he vote yes or no on yesterday’s kickoff proposal? (Kickoffs at the 35, touchbacks at the 25?)
I don’t know, I would imagine they were going to tweak a couple things in there. … They’re going back and they’re evaluating. Whatever changes take place, or a change that takes place that helps that process, I think that’s fine, I think that’s good/
What is he missing out on with the lockout in place?
Really just the lifting and the treatments for the injuries. I trust that the players are doing their thing and working out. I trust that both sides are going to get this thing done. I actually encouraged both sides to get back together and get rolling on it, so that’s kind of where I’m at.
Right now as a head football coach I’m so ingrained right now in getting ready for the draft along with the assistant coaches that you’re not too focused on the other things because you’ve got to get this right. We know there’s a draft and make sure you do that the right way.
LeSean McCoy wrote on Twitter that he needs surgery - what's going on?
I don’t know. (The team) can’t talk to him.
When he left he was healthy?
Yes (NOTE: a reporter added that there was Twitter buzz that McCoy had Lasik surgery, though no one seems to have this confirmed)
His message to players before the lockout?
I didn’t do that, because you don’t know. The primary message that I always send, and that is get yourself ready for the upcoming season.
Any attractive offers for Kolb?
We have gotten a number of people that are interested. A number of people are interested, which is a tribute to him, which also makes me feel like what I said before, that I’m a lucky guy to have two good quarterbacks, really three. I think Mike Kafka’s a pretty good quarterback.
Is there a benchmark for the trade? The Matt Schaub deal?
You sit there and take whatever the best offer is if you’re going to do it. You’ve got to analyze what’s best for your team all the way around, whether Kevin stays or you trade Kevin.
On now Kolb's value as a backup impacts any trades?
I know he’s a quarterback that can win a championship for you, so I know he’s that caliber of player. In these type of situations you’re torn and then you sit back and you evaluate. We’ve had a number of people be very aggressive, so we’ll sit back and as this thing goes on, you can’t do anything right now, but there are a number of people very interested.
What can the team do now?
You can’t do deals. We’ll be all ears.
Any offers for Vick?
That’s not where people are at right now. Really the focus is on Kevin.
Would he listen to offers for Vick?
Listen, I keep my ears open on everything. Right now, Michael’s our quarterback, right now.
Does he expect a long-term contract for Vick?
We’ll see. We’ll see how all that goes. Right now Michael’s our quarterback.
Would he be comfortable going into the season with Vick in the final year of his contract?
We’ll see. We’ll see how it all works out. All I can tell you is Michael’s our quarterback right now, that’s how I expect it to be.
Can you trade a guy who has been franchised?
Yes … That’s not where we’re at. That’s not where I’m at.
Does he have a desire in the trade to help Kolb, like he did McNabb?
Kevin’s one of my favorite guys. You’re always going to try to help the kid out, you’ve also got to help yourself out. With Donovan, I made sure I did that, the same thing, where I thought I was putting him in a good position. Didn’t anticipate things happening the way they did, but at the same time we got compensation to help our football team grow.
If you’re going to lose a great player you want to be able to replace him, or at least have the opportunity to replace him with someone who’s also a great player.
Does he have more clarity on the QB situation this year versus last?
It’s a crazy business, but I would tell you Michael’s the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this year, I can tell you that, but I guess from that standpoint I think there’s more clarity.
Can you trade Kolb after the draft?
We’re going to keep our ears open on everything. If it’s before, if it’s after, who knows right now. Who knows when it’s going to take place. I’m always going to make sure that we’re OK, that the Eagles are OK, so I’ve got to evaluate that in this whole process. I know Kevin is a quarterback that can win a championship, so for me to let him go it’s got to be something special.
There are quite a few people very interested in him, but it’s got to be the right deal though to do something like that.
Is he concerned about Kolb leaving next year if he’s not traded?
There’s a chance he walks. There’s things you can do at the end of the year if you had to. You’ve got o look at it, but you’ve got to look at the whole thing and what’s best for the Eagles for now and for the future.
If there are no trades allowed by draft day, would he take a 2012 pick in return for Kolb?
I think you look at that. You look at the option there of what that pick is. I don’t think the future, that doesn’t bother me, that part doesn’t bother me. A future pick, that doesn’t bother me. Depends on what that pick is, maybe there has to be something else involved with it, but that’s alright.
Does he want to help Kevin become a starter?
I know he wants to be, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t want to be. I think number one he would want to be the starting quarterback for us, I know that. If he can’t be for us then he would want to be the starting quarterback for somewhere else. Do I keep that in mind? Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. But at the same time, you know you’d love to be able to do what’s best for Kevin and what’s best for the eagles and make it work out, and have it come to a head at that point or fruition at that point, but I’ve got to make sure, if this thing goes down, you know, if it happens, I’ve got to make sure that it’s good for the Eagles. If everything stays the same where Kevin’s with us, then we have a pretty good situation right there at quarterback.
If you trade for a future pick, would he be worried about flak from fans who would want immediate help? You’d take a lot of flak for that.
I’m used to that.
Would something else have to be added if the trade was for 2012 picks?
We’ll have to see how it all goes. You’re going to do what’s best. I can’t sit here and tell you because we can’t negotiate on those things right now, it’s a dead period right now.
Would DeSean Jackson get an extension if the CBA was set?
We’d have to talk about that. We’d have to look at that. That’s a ‘what if.' I’m not into the ‘what ifs.’ There are a lot of things that go into that that you have to look at.
Have you talked to him?
He and I have talked, yeah.
Do you want him beyond next season?
Yeah, I like him. I don’t get into all that. I don’t get into all the contracts and talking about all that stuff, that’s just not the way to go. I try to talk to the person or the agent and go from there.
Is he concerned about Jackson’s his durability?
No, not at all.
On the effect of a lockout on his coaching changes and installing new scheme?
The one positive with Juan moving over to the defensive side is the terminology will remain the same. Some of the scheme, as far as alignments and that will change, but it’s nothing drastic enough here you’d say you’re starting over, that’s not what it is, so we should be ok there. The new players obviously coming in, they’re going to have to catch up, but that’s ok, everybody’s going to go through that, everybody’ll have the same problem.
The news staffs that’s a little tough on. If you have a completely new staff, that could be a little rough.
Will Jim Washburn be affected by not getting to work with players yet?
You’d love to have the opportunity for him to work with them, but he’ll have time, he’ll have time. Like Evelyn Wood, he’ll just have to go fast.
Why was there talk of moving the kickoff from the 30 to 35?
Nothing’s been done yet, so it’s kind of up in the air right now and it was up for debate, that’s what went on in there, which is a good thing, that’s healthy. Really it’s safety reasons, that’s all it is, injury and trying to cut down on injuries and help the players out that way.
Whether it’s changed or not changed, or whatever the rule is, that’s the general philosophy going in is to make that a little safer play.
How would moving the kickoff change the game?
If that’s the direction that it goes, and again, that’s not the case right now, then you have more touchbacks, thus you have less returns, and there have been no injuries on touchbacks. That’s the bottom line there.
Are there ways of getting around the touchbacks? Absolutely. Pop ups and so on, coaches are pretty creative guys and that, but listen, the general point of it was to help out the injury factor that takes place on some of those.
What will he recommend to Eagles owners?
I’m curious to see. The committee was going to go back and rework through it after they got some input from coaches and owners yesterday and general managers, so they’re going to go back and we’ll see what’s presented today. I can’t tell you what exactly’s going to be presented today. Whatever goes, goes. It’s for the better of the game and as coaches we’ll be behind it and roll with it.
How hard is it for young head coaches with young QBs not able to get together in offseason?
Right now everybody’s so focused in on the draft, that that’s really where we’re at. As coaches we’re fired up for both sides to get back together and knock it out. I mean, we encourage that and we know that will take place. But right now we’re involved with the draft and we are like deep deep into it, coaches are out working college kids out they’re back in doing self scout evaluation and scheme evaluation and evaluating players for the upcoming draft and then we’ve already knocked free agency out, so when that starts we’re good with that. Everything’s set up and ready to go, but primary focus on the draft right now.
Is Kolb a quarterback you need to protect?
I think they all are. Well, he doesn’t have the same escapability as Mike. Listen, that’s a rare ability that he has, to escape. Kevin Kolb is a sharp cookie, man.
Do you need a right cornerback?
We’re going to evaluate that. We’re evaluating the whole the shebang. Dimitri [Patterson] will get one year better if Dimitri’s back with us.
Would Patterson be your starter right now then?
We’ll see. This is the evaluation process. We have a lot of time to do this.
If you had to fix one thing right now what would be your priority?
I would like to have a 34-inch waist … especially after that dinner last night. I would tell you that I’d like to play a little more consistent on the offensive line. I’d like to play a little more consistent defensively. And that means all the way around. We got to do a little bit better job in the blitz game, offensively, picking up the blitz game. And then special teams, just in general, we just got to make that next little step of improvement in most of the areas.
Does having a left-handed quarterback change how you view right tackle and Winston Justice?
I’m comfortable with Winston. You know what was pleasantly – not a surprise – it was a pleasant improvement was King Dunlap. I thought he really improved and showed that he’s a legitimate contender for that spot.
Concerned about Dunlap's arrest in Nashville?
We were right on that. I can’t comment on it. It’s what people said it was.
Competition between Justice and Dunlap?
Listen, I’m going to tell you there’s always competition. So I’d tell you, yes. But I think Winston ended up playing hurt last year and still did a pretty good job. There’s always competition. I think that’s one spot that there’s a good competition for.
Are you expecting Jamaal Jackson back by the start of the season?
I think so, yeah. I think he’ll be back and ready to go.
And he's the starting center?
Yeah, he’ll probably be in that position.
What about Mike McGlynn?
Well, McGlynn can play both. So for a first-year guy I thought McGlynn did a pretty good job.
Could McGlynn help at right guard?
McGlynn can do that and you saw King jump in there. King could play right guard. … Michael might hit him in the back of the head. We’ve put him in there and he did very well.
What are the qualities you saw in Juan Castillo that made you name him DC?
He’s a teacher and he understands concepts. He has a strong defensive foundation having played there and coached there. His desire was always one to get back to the defensive side.
Will the defensive scheme change under Castillo?
They’ll be some things that change. They’re not things that we haven’t done before, but we’d probably do some things a little bit more than we have done before. Does that make sense? So it won’t be new concepts, necessarily. But you might put a little more emphasis in certain areas. Some of that stems in with what Jim Washburn brings.
Is Washburn going to change evaluation of defensive ends for the draft?
That’s kind of how we’re built. We evolved to that as the season went on. You saw us kick out those wide nines more than we have in the past. That’s why I went out and got Jim Washburn because he’s the best at teaching that.
But didn't the Eagles' sack production slip after you made those changes?
We were playing better teams. Sacks should go up, though, in theory. The wide nines give you that opportunity.
If that's such a good idea why didn't you do it earlier?
Well, what it does is it puts a little stress in certain areas along the front so you got to compromise certain things and you got to bring secondary players into play and linebackers into play for the run game part of it.
Can the team's doctor's talk to injured players during the lockout?
As long as they did the surgeries, I believe there’s that part in there. … Rick [Burkholder] really has all of it. As long as the doctor did the surgery he can talk to that player. If he didn’t do the surgery then he can talk to the doctor that did that surgery on that player.
So you're able to keep tabs on injured players like Brandon Graham and Nate Allen?
How are Graham and Allen doing?
So far, so good.
Will both be back by the start of the season?
I think Graham will be a stretch, a real stretch.
Is Allen on target to start the season?
Nate should be there.
Why didn't Marty Mornhinweg get another shot at being a head coach this off-season?
I don’t know that. Thank goodness they didn’t do that with Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin and so many other guys. These are great football coaches that got a second chance and kicked butt. I’m probably the wrong guy to talk to because I’m a big Marty fan. I don’t think you will find too many better football coaches than Marty Mornhinweg.
Surprise you that he didn't get more nibbles?
It surprised me this past year that he didn’t get something.
How does the lockout affect potential to trade Kolb?
People can’t talk. You just can’t do deals. You can talk with other organizations. And there was talk going on before. You know who’s interested. Thank goodness for Kevin and for us, there are a number of teams that are interested in Kevin. That’s a tribute to him for the hard work that he’s put in and his play. On the other hand of that, I got to make sure that I do what’s best for the Eagles, whether we keep them or trade him.
What do you tell teams about Kolb, who has had only seven starts?
I would tell you the same thing I told Mike Holmgren about Matt Hasselbeck. I remember talking to Mike down at the combine and he asked me that same question. I said, ‘Matt Hasselbeck and come in and help you win a championship.’ That’s how I feel about Kevin Kolb. So whatever you had to pay for him, pay for him, go get him and he’ll help you win a championship. That’s how I feel about this kid. That’s why I got him. I didn’t bring him in to be a backup. I brought him in to be a starter and crazy things happened with this Michael Vick thing that nobody thought would happen. So when I made that statement, ‘I’ve got a beautiful situation,’ I’ve got a beautiful situation. But that kid is a championship-caliber quarterback.
Does the lockout affect how you develop Vick this off-season?
Before the lockout Michael was in the building every day. He was in the building every day last off-season. You can’t do all the football stuff with him right now. But he was in there working out and he’s in town working out. He was saying he was going to get everybody together and work out. We can’t get involved in that.
When does not having him become a concern?
I think we’re OK there.
Did you re-evaluate how you favor speed guys on defense?
On defense, I like fast players and like guys that can run and play fast. Size – I don’t really necessarily get too caught up on the size. I care about playing strength and speed and quickness.
Because of Graham’s injury and Juqua Parker’s age do you have concerns about DE?
Te’o, Sapp and Tapp.
What about Abiamiri?
Abiamiri – he’s another one.
How’s his knee?
It’s pretty good, I think.
How will the lockout affect some of his former assistants that were recently named head coaches?
Leslie [Frazier] is already been able to do it. Pat [Shurmur] is coming into a situation where Mike Holmgren’s been there, so the players kind of know what Mike expects and Pat will be an extension of that. So it makes it a little bit easier. But Pat’s got to be able to get in there and do his thing. … Ron [Rivera] is coming in kind of cold, too. It’s important. That parts important.
Like you in 1999?
We had a hard time getting the helmets on the guys for the first minicamp.
Do you dial down expectations when the lockout ends?
This is what you normally do, though. I’m going to speak from how we do it. We go through the minicamps and we kind of install what you’re going to get in training camp because it’s going to be a repeat. It’s not like you’re loading up every day all the way up to the first game. So you’re probably going to skip one of those legs if you don’t have the minicamps, if you don’t have that part. They’re going to get it all during training camp and you roll. Now do you have to cut some of the stuff out? Maybe you do. That pool may not be as great to drop back on. A lot of the things that you put in at training camp you might not pull out till Week 4, 5, 6.
Do you need to address DT with Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson getting older?
We have [Antonio] Dixon and Laws stepped up and played pretty well for us. I think we’re OK there.
Are you OK at linebacker?
Linebacker – we got to look at that.
Can Stewart Bradley play strong-side linebacker if Jamar Chaney is the starting middle linebacker?
He could, yeah. He could do that. Moise [Fokou] did a nice job there.
Will Sean McDermott benefit from leaving Philadelphia?
Absolutely. I think you got one of the best football coaches I’ve been around. Highly, highly intelligent. Nobody will out-work him. Nobody will out-work him. He’s got a great feel for the game. Philly had been the only job that he had had coaching was with me. And then he was following Jim Johnson. So I just thought a change – and I talked to Ron about this – would be great for him. I didn’t have this huge plan behind him or anything else. I saw what it was. I just thought a change there would be tremendous for him and would even allow him to grow further. If you looked at his numbers in 2009, those primary categories that everybody looks at – go back and look at those. He’s the top ten in all five. Unbelievable job. This year he was dealt with a lot of youth and it was neat to watch him get those kids to grow.
Was it hard to fire him?
I’m very close with him. So you have to look at things – what do you think is best for him. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. He wants to be the best. And so, I have to evaluate all that as a head coach and I just thought that a little different scenery would be a beautiful thing for him. Working with Ron Rivera is the best.
Were there times you had to push him out of the office because of his work ethic?
No. He’s a grinder, though, man. He loves it. Ex-wrestler. Those guys are all a little [Reid makes screwy-looking face].
Would you have handled the David Akers situation after the playoff loss to Green Bay differently after his daughter’s illness came out?
I think he came out and explained what went on. I think that’s good enough. I’m obviously very concerned about his daughter, No. 1.
Were you disappointed that he didn’t sign the team’s transition tender?
I’m not getting into that. David and I have been together a long time and it will all work out.
What did you make of rumors during Super Bowl that Jon Gruden was going to replace you?
I don’t even remember it happening, to be honest. I know every year it tends to come up. I don’t really remember. But that’s alright. Jon and I are good friends.
Did you call him and have a chuckle about it?
I didn’t. He and I talk all the time. I don’t really remember it.
You let a number of assistants who rose up the ranks go. Was bringing in Washburn and Howard Mudd a reflection of being too insular?
For some of those guys change is good for. To go see another way of doing things. For their careers. All of them are good coaches.
How will lining up DEs more outside have an impact on back seven?
I don’t think it’s a secret, but the C-gap is kind of where the stress would come in widening out that nine-technique. And so, there are certain things that you do secondary-wise, linebacker-wise to compensate for that. It’s not that big of a deal and it kind of fits into the coverages that we’ve used before, which is a good thing, so we don’t have to make a whole of adjustments on it. The players that we have should be good enough to do those things and do them well.
Do you need bigger linebackers to handle those inside gaps?
Not necessarily because the way it works at nine-technique is that nine-technique is coming right through your tight ends and squeezing that thing down.
Will Johnny Lynn help out with play-calling?
Juan will do that right now.
But he’s never done that before.
Somebody asked me that one time. … I was sitting at that table and here I am a brand new coach and Mike Ditka’s table is right over there and there’s a hundred cameras around Mike. All of a sudden I see him go [makes mean Ditka face] like that. All the cameras come over. They swarm over and they go, ‘Ditka just said that he would trade his whole draft for that No. 2 pick.’ And I see Mike Ditka over there going [makes mean Ditka face]. And I’m going, ‘He did?’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen.’
Did that get rid of all the cameras?
No, they fired away. It was an onslaught.
Ditka nearly gave away his entire draft.
He did and he wanted to do it and he made no bones about it with me. As a matter of fact, Jeffrey [Lurie] is driving into the draft and Benson’s on the phone pounding Jeffrey, ‘Come on, let’s do this thing.’ Looking back at it, might have been able to do it and still maneuver.
What would you pay for that No. 2 pick this year or to get in the top ten?
You’d have to pay mighty to get up there, I’m sure.
How good is this draft class?
I think so. I think there’s some good players. I think there’s some good defensive linemen. That’s a strong area.
What did he think of Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson?
I kind of like him. He’s a good player.
Is he a 4-3 tackle or a 3-4 end?
I think he’s flexible. I think he can do a lot of different things. I think in our scheme he can play inside, outside, give you pass rush, good athlete.
Are top-rated CBs Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara clearly the elite of the class?
I had a chance to sit with Peterson. What a great kid. At the Maxwell’s. Tough guy. … They’re pretty good. I think there are a few good corners out there, but probably not at that level.
What about Colorado CB Jimmy Smith, who some think has character flaws?
You got to do your homework on him and do all that stuff. It’s probably still too early now. Even past Jimmy, there’s some good corners – good, solid players.
Is moving Jamaal Jackson to guard an option?
Yeah, mm hmm. He could handle that, yeah.
What difference can Jackson make with his experience?
Jamaal’s a good center. Jamaal is one of those guys that is probably underrated, very good center.
Is he healthy?
He’s doing good, yeah, he feels good. At least he did back when (the team could talk to him).
Will Jackson be ready if training camp starts on time?
He’ll be ready to go
Can Eagles players use the NovaCare rehab facility at the Eagles offices?
I don’t think they can do that. That’d be too easy
Are teams seeking Kolb asking Reid for his evaluation of the QB?
They’ll ask, as long as you have a good relationship with them and they trust you. For somebody like that that’s easy, that’s an easy. You don’t have to do a whole lot of selling with him … they have the film and then with Kevin, you guys deal with him, so you know, you tell Kevin something one time and he’s got the whole picture.
What do teams ask about?
How he learns, how he sees things
What do you tell them?
He’s pretty good at all those, which is true. Very talented kid.
What is Juan Castillo doing now with the new defense but a lockout in place?
They go over all their scheme evaluation. In a normal offseason, half your day is scheme evaluation, the other half is player evaluation for free agency and for draft, so that’s the way the day is broken up until you get through the draft and free agency.
Are Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn looking for different types of players?
Not necessarily. Not necessarily. (Les Bowen interjected here that Mudd seems to like the attributes -- speed, athleticism -- that the Eagles already value) We’ve talked to him and asked him, but really it’s what Les said.
Will reporters be able to talk to Mudd and Washburn during the season?
You know that’s illegal, right (referring to NFL rules on assistants)?
To not allow your position coaches to talk.
I’m Billy the Kid.
On James Urban leaving?
I’ll tell you what happened there. Marty Mornhinweg stays. Had Marty gone that would avhe given James an opportunity to be a coordinator with us or surely for Marty. Marty would have taken him with him. So he had this roadblock. Now I don’t know how long Marty’s going to be with us, I’m hoping Marty gets a head coaching job, but this was an opportunity for James to go and expand and I think the sky’s the limit, I think he’s a tremendous coach.
I’ve always tried to take care of the coaches that way and give them opportunities if they hit a roadblock, give them an opportunity to go somewhere else and do their thing. You’re talking about a coordinator, a future coordinator type coach.
On making trades with Bill Belichick?
Bill does it as well as anybody in this league. He and I have made a trade every year that he’s been coaching that I’ve been a ehad coach and he’s been a head coach. I believe so, we’ve done some little thing there.
(Note: someone asked on Twitter what the 2010 deal was. The Eagles traded LB Tracy White to the Patriots for a conditional 2012 draft pick. No one said they were big deals).
Why deal so often with Belichick?
We’re good friends. He’s a sharp guy, a sharp, sharp guy.