Thursday, July 10, 2014
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BREAKFAST WITH ANDY, PART TWO

We here -- actually, it's just me here -- at Birds Eye View often ridicule the hated competition over at Eagleterian, but today we have a collaborative effort in the interest of getting our beloved readers at philly.com as much information as fast as possible. Paul Domowitch, the esteemed veteran national writer from the Daily News, posted Part One of this morning's Breakfast with Andy interview at the swanky St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and this is Part Two of that dialogue with the Eagles' head coach. As Italian-American mothers like to say while serving enormous portions of pasta: Enjoy.

BREAKFAST WITH ANDY, PART TWO

"This is one thing I know. I can sit here right now and put a championship-caliber football team [on the field]," said Andy Reid today at the owners´ meetings. (File photo)
"This is one thing I know. I can sit here right now and put a championship-caliber football team [on the field]," said Andy Reid today at the owners' meetings. (File photo)

We here -- actually, it's just me here -- at Birds Eye View often ridicule the hated competition over at Eagleterian, but today we have a collaborative effort in the interest of getting our beloved readers at philly.com as much information as fast as possible. Paul Domowitch, the esteemed veteran national writer from the Daily News, posted Part One of this morning's Breakfast with Andy interview at the swanky St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and this is Part Two of that dialogue with the Eagles' head coach. As Italian-American mothers like to say while serving enormous portions of pasta: Enjoy.

On safety Sean Jones' one-year contract: "If it works out and he plays well, it's a win-win for him. He either ends up coming back with us or he's able to get a nice contract somewhere else."

On Quintin Demps getting the first crack at being the starting free safety: "Yeah, but there will be competition. Both Quintins will have a shot. Quintin Mikell is established.

On how he will line up the safeties: "Quintin Mikell can play either one. Quintin Demps played free and we just have to see how the whole thing works out. We brought Demps in here to do what he did. We were able to ease him into the lineup as the season went on and give him some good playing experience. It's a matter of him coming in and being able to retain what he learned last season and then going out physically and play."

On how Sean Jones gets on the field as safety: "There are things we can do, so there is going to be some flexibility. And Sean is a big guy. Putting him down close to the line of scrimmage does not hurt you at all. At the same time, as long as he keeps his weight right he can run very well, too. I'll open up (the safety competition) and let them go. But I can tell you that Quintin Mikell is right on the edge of going to the Pro Bowl."

On his feelings when he heard about defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's cancer late in the season: "I had known before we actually played the last couple games. I had an idea what was up. That's tough. We've been together so long and you don't want to see somebody in as much pain as he was in. When he gets to the point where he can't walk, that's tough. That's not a good thing. It was just a matter then of making sure he received the best help he could get and I think that's happened.

"His emotional makeup is very similar to his emotional makeup on the field. He doesn't want to talk about it, he just wants to get it done with. He's attacking it and trying to get it right. As a matter of fact, right now he's in Spain. I really think his number one goal is to be able to golf. He was trying to get it taking care of by this trip. I don't know if he got that far, but he wanted to be able to golf in Spain. I don't know if (the chemotherapy) is done yet. I think he had a couple more stages left of that, but he's been through enough. Most men would be on their back, but he's just stubborn. He's been in the office every day.

"He's way better than what he was. He can get around now. To say he's getting better, I would say drastically better since the (NFC) championship game. He's made progress." 

On whether Johnson can handle the full responsibility of being the team's defensive coordinator: "I think so, yeah. And then he knows he has (secondary coach) Sean McDermott who he's trained. Sean can step in and take over there if needed, but I don't know if it will get to that point. Jim knows that and he's prepared Sean for that. Jim is always going to be my coordinator as long as he can do it. You never know how bad it is, but I think it's important that he knows (he's the coordinator) and all the guys around him know that. Jim banks on Sean a lot anyway, so maybe he does a little bit more. He'll do what Jim can't do, but right now I think Jim can do everything."

On Brent Celek and the tight end situation: "I expect (Celek) to get better in the blocking area, but he's not far off there and he's very willing. We'll get that part taken care of. He can be a number one tight end in this league and for us. I have no problem with that. However, you need depth at that spot. We do have (Matt) Schobel there and Schobel is a good receiver. We probably need to get another guy in there. I like to have three tight ends.

On whether the third tight end needs to be an outstanding blocker: "They better be able to do both. I always feel like you can teach the blocking part of it. He's got to be willing to learn the blocking part, but getting guys that can catch the ball, that's hard to teach. You try to get a guy with decent hands and with the potential to be a blocker."

On whether Oklahoma's Brandon Pettigrew, the top-rated tight end in the draft: "I think he can do both. I think he's savvy. He's not real fast, but he's just a huge human being."

On the team's coaching changes (Ted Daisher special teams coordinator, Rory Segrest from special teams to defensive line, James Urban to quarterbacks coach and Doug Pederson to offensive quality control): "I like them so far, but there are a couple of them I haven't been in the heat of things with during a game. Ted Daisher I've been close with and Rory at the defensive line spot."

On the defensive line: "I think what you'll get is probably a healthier dose (at defensive end) of Victor (Abiamiri). He's another year older and healthy. He was coming on early, then was injured and then came on toward the end. It will be good to get him in there and get a full season out of him. I'll always keep my eyes open (for other defensive linemen). I just think everybody is better when that spot is a strength. I can't sit here and say, 'No, I'm not going to take sombody there (in the draft).' "

On whether Abiamiri is now the starter ahead of Juqua Parker: "They're both going to play. I look at it as we have eight (defensive linemen). I'm slowly figuing out how the hockey players do it in case we have 18 games.

On whether he could look to upgrade the wide receiver position: "I'll always look at something if there is a great player out there and it doesn't matter what position. I'm always looking to better our football team. Do I think we have good enough guys there? Yeah, I do. I think you get an even better Jason Avant this year. He kind of reached his abilities last year and now we can get a whole season out of him. You have a healthy Kevin Curtis. You have to remember, Kevin was coming off a sports hernia and that was an unbelievable thing he did by playing through that. You've got Reggie Brown who is a starter and you've got a young DeSean (Jackson) coming back and this is a very important year for him ... because the defensive coordinators have had some time now to study him. They'll find out ways to shut him down, so he has to make sure he picks up his game another notch."

On whether Jackson will remain the team's punt returner: "He's still going to punt return as we sit here today."

On Reggie Brown's disappearance from the offense last season: "One of the unfortunate things in this business is -- it's a good thing, but also an unfortunate one -- when you get hurt and a young guy is playing well, then it's hard to get back in there. (Brown) came back and I moved him to X receiver spot, then he got banged up again ... and he just was going back and forth. Then Kevin came back and DeSean was playing well and I kind of just let it go at that. I tried to work Reggie in there. He's a competitive kid and he wants to be out there playing. Those aren't easy decisions from my side and I know it wasn't easy for him to accept that. He's got a lot of good football ahead of him. It's not that Reggie can't play. He's got to come in and play like the rest of them do. There's competition there. If somebody snoozes, then they're not going to be the one playing, whoever it is."

On the Wildcat formation: "We're not going to feature the Wildcat. I'll be curious to see what people do with it. I thought Miami had a pretty extensive package and I'm curious to see if they continue to expand that. What normally  happens is if the colleges are doing one thing and that's where the quarterbacks are coming from, it seems to me a pretty high percentage of the college teams are going to the spread offense. That's what you're bringing into the NFL and somewhere you have to explore that. We're going to let (Jon) Gruden explore that during his sabbatical ... and see how it fits into the NFL game."

On how the personnel decisions are made within the Eagles' organization: "Most GMs come to the head coach and talk to him about the players ... and I'm sure most GMs would say that if the head coach really didn't like the guy, they'd probably go in a different direction. I'm saying most. I'm not saying all of them. From my standpoint, I want to make sure I have a good GM, because I'm still involved in the football part of it. I want to have a good college director and a good pro director. I bank on those guys. Then you have to be able to tie the money side of it in and balance that.

"I have people who bring me that information and then we make our decisions more in a joint fashion than we do. It's not, 'I want this guy.' I want their opinions. If you don't share your opinions, that's when you're not here. I'm not sitting up there going, 'I'm the almighty that I know every player backward and forward and my opinion is the right opinion.' That's not how we go about that. I respect the guys that I hired and you have to because they're taking these huge numbers of players and whittling it down for you. There's no way that I can watch every guy who comes out in the draft. There's a process that you bring it down to a workable number and then we sit down and we go through it together and look at these guys. We have it set up now in the college game, where I have it right here on my computer at the hotel that I can click on and watch all the college guys. I'm mobile. And then I can talk to Tom about certain guys and I can crank out more guys than I used to be able to in certain situations."

On whether Reid makes the final call on all situations, including the decision to let safety Brian Dawkins leave via free agency: "Listen, we spend a lot of time together talking. I have a lot of respect for Joe Banner. In this day and age, you have to be smart. If you're going to sustain your program, you have to be smart. Put the whole Dawkins thing aside. You have to work together. It's not a situation where the front office hates the GM and the GM hates the money people and the head coach hates all of them. You can't do that. That's not how it is. Everybody has to work together to get this thing right. It's important that everybody is willing to do that. Joe and I meet every day. We talk every day about things. When we do something, we do it together. It's not Joe, it's not me. We do this thing together.

"Because he's the money guy -- and this has happened from Babe Ruth's time on -- he's always thrown under the bus. It's the craziest thing. He's never going to be the good guy. He's the good guy when he signs the huge player, but he's the bad guy the majority of the time. All these guys in this league, that's what happens. But we do it together. We talk things through and try to do things that are fair for the player and fair for us and then we move on. And we're very disciplined. We always try to be disciplined."

On whether the defense can be better even without Dawkins: "We will see. I'm not going to say anything that would slight Brian Dawkins. He's a great player and he's coming off a great year. But I will say that I think Brian was a good teacher also. I think it's important (to remember) that Quintin Demps is not Brian Dawkins, but he was able to see what Brian Dawkins did and now he went about his business. I think that was one reason why Quintin Demps had a chance to play last year and I think it's a great goal for Quintin Demps to shoot for. He should try to be as good as Brian was. To say he's there now, that's not fair because you're talking about one of the all-time greats.

"I think the linebackers have a chance to be even better. They're the same guys and they're getting another year older and they've had a chance to work together. And I think our defensive line is a very strong point. I think our secondary can be as solid as any secondary in the league and it's important that they are."

On whether second-year cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu can be the Eagles' fourth cornerback: "I'll tell you when we get into the minicamps. He's a phenomenal athlete and he's been going to all the meetings and doing all the stuff he was supposed to do, so we'll see how he handles the whole situation. I'll be watching."

On whether he'll promise that the team will make a first-round pick this year: "I want to maintain my flexibility."

 

 

 

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