Eagles introduce new coaches, announce Vick's new deal
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly introduced his coaching staff during a news conference at the NovaCare Complex.
"It’s real important to me that we took our time with this," Kelly said of the coaching search. "The biggest thing for me was 'who was the right fit?' I wanted a group with a lot of varied experiences ... Our goal was to put together the best plan for the Eagles in 2013."
To no surprise, the first question from the media had to do with quarterbacks Michael Vick, who agreed to a restructured deal with the Eagles on Monday, and Nick Foles. Despite Vick's new deal, Kelly said there will be an open competition for the starting role.
"I’m excited about the two of them," Kelly said. "I know they’re going to compete. But who is going to be the starting quarterback will be won on the practice field."
Here is a full transcript of Kelly's press conference:
“Thanks for coming. I appreciate everybody coming out this afternoon, it’s an exciting time for us. We get an opportunity to announce our coaching staff, and also the timing worked out pretty good to announce that we have restructured Michael Vick's deal, and Michael will be back next season with us.
So for us as a staff, getting ready to move forward, putting together our plans, offensively, defensively, and special teams, but knowing that we have Michael and Nick [Foles] back at quarterback gives us a direction of which direction we're going in, in terms of what we're going to do offensively.
First off, I'll address the staffing of our group. It was really important to me that we took our time with this. It's not something that you want to just jump at the first person you meet, and I really wanted to make sure that I was very thorough in the whole process. I talked to a lot of different people. Had input from a lot of different people, and sat down and met with some outstanding coaches. The biggest thing for me is who was the right fit for this organization, and for us as a group, understanding the personalities and how I work, how some of the people that I brought with me from Oregon are, and how do we fit those pieces together.
But I wanted a diverse group, a group that had a lot of varied experiences in terms of where they were coming from, because I thought that was the best way to go about it. We've had some meetings so far as our staff got completed here, and it's been great. When you sit in a room and get an opportunity to bounce ideas off [quarterbacks coach] Bill Lazor or [wide receivers coach] Bob Bicknell or [offensive coordinator] Pat Shurmur, and [defensive coordinator] Bill Davis, and the list goes on of who we hired here. We've all come from different backgrounds and our goal is to put together the best plan for the Eagles in 2013.
That's what these guys have done, what they've been charged to do, and the best way I can describe what this staff is. And why I think it's a great staff and how we compiled it, I think it's a great fit.
No one has an ego. We all have the same goal and the goal is for us to win, not only win on the field next season when we start, but to win today. To come to work every day with an energy and an enthusiasm about how do we take this thing to different spots and that's what we're charged with. How do we do it better than it's ever been done before? And we've got a group of guys that really understand what that's all about.
We've had some great meetings. We finally got everybody in place as of this weekend, so the first day we're all really together is today, so it's kind of fitting that we announce them all at the same time. With that, I know there are probably some individual questions about guys and whatever, so we'll open it up and see where you guys are.”
Q. You had just said that you're excited about having Michael Vick and Nick Foles on the roster. So both of those guys will be with the team for the season opener?
“I hope so. In case one of them gets hurt between now and tomorrow. But there is an open competition. Michael knows that. Nick knows that. Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing. I wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans, and I think both of them have outstanding qualities in terms of being quarterbacks in this league. Both of them have started in this league.
So I also know in this league, you better have two, so I'm excited about the two of them. They're both going to compete. And who the starting quarterback is to start the season off is going to be won on the practice field.”
Q. Most coaches in a staff want to have guys they’ve worked with before and, you're on the same page with them. How are you going to get the staff to actually work that way? I know you said you wanted different opinions, but how do you get everybody on the same page?
“I think that's where the whole process took a little bit of time. To make sure that I wanted people to have different opinions, different experiences in terms of what they could bring to the table. But I think when you meet these guys and get a chance to sit down and visit with them, just because we didn't grow up in the same systems from a football standpoint, doesn't mean we don't think alike. That's the unique thing is us trying to put this together.
I'm not a guy ‑‑ I want to be challenged. I think we want to be challenged as a group. You want a guy to say we did it this way, and it makes you think of a different way to do it. It's the ability to create what is the best identity for this football team moving forward? Not this is how I did it at Oregon, and this is how we're going to do it here. That's not what I wanted.
I also think when you have people that don't have a lot of egos and know they can learn from other people is what makes this whole collaboration work.
That is the big thing for us. We, as a group, have to understand at the end of the day what is the best thing for this organization. And that is the big quality for me. How much energy these guys have, and how willing are they to work with other people? Some people are outstanding football coaches with tremendous ideas, but they may not be the right fit for us.
I think all of us understand we don't have the game cornered. We don't have the game and know this is the way it's got to be done and please do it this way. It's let's put together an idea, and if we can't learn from each other, then that's shame on us.
Put a bunch of guys together that are coachable. I think it's unique in the profession that we are, because probably the most uncoachable people in the world are coaches. We want our players to listen and adapt all the time. But as coaches, we don't want to do that.
That's not the staff we put together. We put together some great minds, very sharp, tons of energy, and willing to listen. At the end of the day, it's what we do as a group, and that collaborative effort is going to show up on the field in 2013.”
Q. Getting back on the quarterback situation. I think one thing that a lot of people are really looking forward to here, this is a fresh start. Everything old was gone, and the old problems were gone. Having Michael back, seems that people are thinking about his turnovers, his injuries, I'm sure you look at those factors in making this decision. What was your thought process in coming back with him? Do you still think he can be an effective starting quarterback in the NFL?
“I think in terms of Michael, we look at everything. What I look at is skillset first and foremost. What he can do, how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet. There are a lot of different factors he has. And you have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks.
I guess the best way I can put this is I agree there is a change of scenery going on here. For Michael Vick, there is a change of scenery, but not a change of address.”
Q. It's interesting to understand the art of sports science coordinator. Can you speak to that and what exactly that job will entail?
“Yeah, the game of football has evolved. I think we as coaches have to evolve with it. And to always harken back to, well, we did it because that's the way it's always been done, I just never bought into that theory in my mind.
I want to know why we do things and everything we do. Whether it's the athletic training room, the strength and conditioning room, to anything that touches this football team. And the only answer I won't accept is because we've always done it that way.
If you look back 50 years ago, people trained in football, and they weren't allowed to have water during the game. There was a bucket on the sideline, and you had a ladle and you scooped it out and had a sip, but if you drank water, you were soft. Obviously, we've evolved from a science standpoint.
There are a lot of other sports that have evolved faster than football has evolved from a science standpoint, and we want to be on the cutting edge of that.”
Q. He has a military background, is there anything under ‑‑ when you were at Oregon, putting the guys through some sort of military boot camp type stuff. Is that what we can expect to see as camps start to gear up here going forward?
“(Jokingly) I'm not going to have face paint on, I can tell you that. No. Just the fact that where Shaun [Huls] has been in recent years. He started as a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, spent time at Nevada, has been at the collegiate ranks.
I just think it's a different experience that he brings to the table. (Jokingly) But are we planning to attack a foreign country? No. We've got enough trouble with the 31 teams we've got in this league, so.”
Q. If there is an open competition at quarterback and Nick Foles maybe is more suited for a west coast as opposed to, I don't know what the plans are with Michael Vick and possibly running more of a spread option. How would you do an open competition while having two different systems?
“I don't think it's two different systems. Again, people try to look at what we've done in the past and where I've been and kind of paint it with one brush because everybody wants a sound bite to say your offense is this.
I don't think what we do offensively can be said in one or two words that we're either this or we're this. We're an equal opportunity scoring operation.
Whether we run the ball over the goal line or throw the ball over the goal line really doesn't bother me, it's how do we move the football. There have been games we've had to throw it in our league 50 times and there are games we have to run it 50 times. You need to be built for the long haul.
There is a skill set that Nick has that really excites me about him. And I had the opportunity to see him up close and personal for three years and I know what he can do.
So I'm excited to work with him. I think we've got an older quarterback in Michael who is 32 now, and have a younger guy in Nick who is going into his second year, and I think it's the ideal situation for us moving forward this season.”
Q. You mentioned that you hope that Nick and Michael will both be able to be here at the start of the season. Does that mean you're not ruling out a possible trade?
“We're not ruling out anything right now. I think our job and we know that from day one, is to put the best team on the field. We open up the season on September 13th or whatever day we open the season on. So I don't rule anything out, I don't rule anything in. But I know moving forward we, as an organization, had to make a decision what to do with Michael, and I want Michael to be part of this team.”
Q. There is a report that you've been eyeing or talking to Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon. Is he coming back?
“Last time I talked to Dennis Dixon was during the open date or whatever the Ravens had. He came out to Oregon to watch us play, and that is the last time I've talked to Dennis. Anybody that we have the ability to look at and we are doing that right now, anybody that is involved in free agency in terms of trying to upgrade our roster. Any time we can upgrade our roster, I'll do so. I haven't ruled anybody out of that either.”
Q. Can you tell me what went into the decision to pick Pat Shurmur?
“(Jokingly) First off, on the play calling, I'll call all the good plays. He'll call all the bad. That was first and foremost. The first question was will you take credit for all the bad plays and he said yes, and he jumped right to the top of the list.
No, I made a real conscious decision moving from the college level to here that I wanted to hire coordinators that had NFL experience, that was very important to me, and pretty thorough in my investigation from that. And I think with Billy Davis and Pat Shurmur and [special teams coordinator] David Fipp we got that.
And meeting with Pat, to be honest, it was is this too good to be true? And the longer our meeting went on, it was a two‑day meeting and when I met with Pat it was that's a great point. We agree on that, and how do you feel about this? And when I looked at our assistants after Pat left, and I was like what do you guys think? We were all on the same page.
And I was excited that Pat told me the bottom line is I said, Where do you see yourself? And he said, I just want to win. And that's exactly what I want to do and what we want to do. So that put us on the same page. But the fact that he was here for ten years as a quarterback coach is icing on the cake to me.
He has a great understanding of this building. And the reputation he left when he left this building, when I mentioned to people that we were interviewing him, you could see their eyes light up. After spending time with him, I could see why. I think he's a great addition.
I also had thought about it. Sometimes it works out to have a guy on staff that's been a head coach in this league. Pat's office is connected to mine, and I know the door's usually open because I can walk in and say what did do you in this situation when you were a head coach? There are so many bonuses, besides his football knowledge, after meeting him and getting on the board with him is just outstanding, just his personality, his mindset, it was kind of a slam‑dunk for me after getting a chance to sit down and visit with him.”
Q. Can you talk about the process with Billy Davis? Because you interviewed him and it was about 11 or 12‑days before formally announcing him as the defensive coordinator. What went on during that timeframe? Was there ever any wavering?
“No, there wasn't. For me, it was just being thorough. I think, I can't remember exactly what day, it was one of those Sundays. Every day runs together for us because we've been here every day. But Billy came in and did an unbelievable job. Really sometimes when you interview people, sometimes it's like you're pulling teeth. There is not a great rapport.
But there was a great rapport. We kept going over different situations, different scenarios and just talking football. It felt like what I want our meeting rooms to feel like, because it wasn't an interview. It was just a bunch of guys talking football, and some really intelligent questions, and really intelligent answers.
I felt like after interviewing him, he was the guy I wanted to work with. And I also knew instead of jumping at the first thing, to make sure we had an opportunity to look around.
I explained that to Billy. We're pretty transparent as a group. I thought you did an outstanding job. I'd love to work with you, but I wouldn't be doing my due diligence if I didn't get a chance to talk to some other people.
When I did talk to other people, it just reaffirmed that Billy was the guy. Was a great fit again. And I know I keep saying great fit, but that was the most important thing of putting anybody together here on this staff.”
Q. You brought five guys that you had with you on various levels. Can you talk about what those guys, Matt [Harper], Jerry [Azzinaro], and Eric [Chinander] and those guys kind of give you in that comfort level and who are here with you now?
“Yeah, that was really important to me to get a bunch of guys in here that understood me and really kind of built it from the bottom up. And Eric and Todd [Lyght], Matt Harper and Greg Austin are guys that are young coaches at Oregon that have been with me a couple of years and understood how I wanted things done and what my vision was.
I knew I was going to hire coordinators that were NFL guys that haven't had the opportunity to work with me before. I have a meeting and have a tendency to talk really fast and I want things to be efficient. But I also know that I may forget to say something, and Pat Shurmur can go to Greg Austin and say what did he mean by that? Or the same thing with Dave Fipp and Matt Harper for those young guys, now I can put together guys with NFL experience coming here, and those guys can say this is what coach means, this is how we operate. Kind of get in that fit that I talked about again. But it was integral.
Plus I think those guys are outstanding coaches and they're going to be rising stars in this profession, and they're smart, they're intelligent. I don't have to worry about what time you're supposed to be in the office, because we all challenge each other and compete with each other to who can get in first in the morning and who can leave last.
When you have to worry about guys doing clock watching, you hired the wrong guys, and I didn't with those guys.”
Q. Billy Davis's background, are you going to be switching to the 3-4? And what was your thinking behind that? Is it because of facing the 3-4 in college?
“That's one of the things about Billy's background is his versatility because he's coached in both. What direction we end up ultimately heading in, I like the 3-4 better. When I first started at Oregon, I think from a special teams standpoint philosophically, if you carry more linebackers on your roster than you do defensive linemen, you help your team from a special teams standpoint, but you just didn't do that in a day.
It's a situation we're evaluating all the personnel on our team, and we'll see where we are.
But I think anybody that runs a 3-4 defense has elements of being a four‑down scheme, no matter what it is. It may not be on first and second down, but it could be on third down.
One of the things that really attracted me to Billy was his versatility and being able to coach in both systems. He's a 21‑year veteran of this league, and has coached under guys like Dick LeBeau, Bill Cowher, Wade Phillips and Vic Fangio and just spent time in Cleveland with Dick Jauron. So he's got a good background. And that's what I wanted in a coordinator, is a coordinator with versatility. Then it's our job as coaches to figure out what is the best scheme for the guys we have in place.
Everybody has a wish list of how they want to do things and what they want to do. But everything we do offensively, defensively, and special teams‑wise will be driven by personnel.”
Q. You mentioned your coordinators had to have a mandated NFL experience, that their experience could help with the other guys you brought from your team. Were the coordinators the only ones to have NFL experience and what was your point of view when you went through looking for that?
“I didn't require it, but it was on my wish list. It wasn't really a rule as much as a guideline as I was looking at people.
But, first off, the two guys that were here before, Duce [Staley] and Ted Williams. You look at Ted when I first got the chance to sit down and visit with Ted, just kind of struck by, we all have an opportunity in our lives to be around intelligent people, and I think that's important when you put together a staff.
But I think more than being intelligent, when I met Ted, Ted's got wisdom. Ted's wise. Ted's been here for a really long time. Just sitting with him and sharing some stories about how he approaches things and what his teaching approach was like, I need Ted to stay. I want him to be a part of this, because there are a lot of times that I'm not going to have all the answers and I'll probably wear the carpet out between my office and Ted's office to ask him some certain scenarios because he's seen so much.
In Duce, I've got a guy that's not only won a Super Bowl, but been in Philadelphia, tough, hard‑nosed, intelligent. You're around Duce for 20 seconds, and you know a guy that just absolutely loves football. So it was important to have that around.
Then bringing in some of the other guys, Bobby Bicknell's got great experience, again, a versatile coach. He's been an offensive line coach in this league, a tight end in this league. Coaching receivers most recently in Buffalo. So to bring ‘Bick’ in brings in other fresh ideas. So that's what that was about.
For me, personally, it was important to get guys that had NFL experience because that's the one thing that I didn't have coming into this. So if I don't have it, I've got a bunch of guys on staff that can help me out from an experience standpoint. But it wasn't a rule as much as it was more of a guideline for me and kind of putting this thing together.”
Q. You talked about why you brought in a sports science coordinator. What exactly does a sports science coordinator do?
“He'll assist Josh [Hingst] in the weight room, our head strength and conditioning coach in terms of implementing individual plans for our players, but also trying to stay on the cutting edge of what the new technology is out there not only to monitor our players working out but recovery.”
Q. Getting back to the 3-4, 4-3, you've hired two different linebacker coaches, inside and outside, so it seems like you'll go through some variation in hiring for the 3-4. You said you were evaluating personnel. Do you feel like if you wanted to do a more natural 3-4, that you could easily do that with the personnel you have now or do you think it would take a radical roster change? In general, do you feel after some of your evaluations that there will be a lot more roster turnover than what's typical of an NFL team?
“I just got here, so I don't know what's typical of the NFL. We made one roster move. We won't have a really good understanding of our guys until we get to that first camp in April. A lot of times you'll see them on tape and say I really like this, then you'll see guys in person and say whoa, I didn't know exactly what we had. The beauty for us, this is February, and we're not playing until September. So we've got time, and I think we've got versatility in our coaching staff, and I think we have some versatility in our roster. I'm excited. I think sometimes when you look at a team and you get an opportunity to come in, there is a little bit of a hole in terms of a talent standpoint. I think there is talent on this football team on both sides of the ball, and it's our job to get them going in the right direction.
Q. There have been two offensive line coaches here with some of these offensive linemen with very distinctive philosophies and styles. How would you describe the style and philosophy of Jeff Stoutland?
“I think Jeff, simply, is a creative, cutting‑edge, offensive line coach with old school toughness. I think when you meet Jeff and have a chance to visit with him, he's extremely intelligent. He has a way of making complex things simple, but he also has an edge to him. When you get a chance, and I know you guys will get a chance to visit with those guys afterwards. But I think your O‑line coach has to be a tough guy, and your D‑line coach has to be a tough guy, and we've hired two pretty tough guys on both sides of the football.”
Q. You have the fourth pick in the draft. Is that a spot where you could consider ‑‑ you have an idea of what the quarterbacks are like from college. Is that a spot you might consider for quarterback? Or is quarterback a consideration early in the draft?
“I'm not a big hypothetical guy because I just have never been that way. I just would always take it to the next level and I'm just not a hypothetical guy. But I know what we're going to do with the fourth pick in the draft is make sure we do the best thing for this organization. So we've got to evaluate the talent that's out there. There is a process that our personnel department has. We've had draft meetings last week and I sat in the back of the room as a fly on the wall. Couldn't tell you how detailed they were. I'm really impressed with the reports that we got so far. I'm sure we'll be armed with all of the information to do what's going to make us a better team come April.
But that's not something right now that we'd even discussed like what are we doing with the fourth pick, just, because, again, we have time. We'll get to the combine, meet some guys individually, and then move forward. But I wouldn't rule anything out at this point in time.”
Q. You mentioned the versatility of the staff and how you're not done looking at and evaluating the terms of capability. Ran the scheme in Arizona, last time the defensive coordinator had a 4-3 under, though it looked like the 3-4. The Seahawks used something similar. Is it safe to say that that could be something that you would want to implement because that was Bill's scheme?
“Sure. I don't know. I don't know until we get all the pieces in place. What we're going to do is put our guys in the best position for them to make plays. I don't know if that's being a 3-4 team, a 4-3 team, a 5-2, a 6-1 team. I know we could add up at the numbers to see where we are.
We're also not caught up in that. It's about making sure we play sound defense on first, second and third down. We could look drastically different on first and second downs than third downs. And that's going to be entirely personnel driven for us. Could it be a 4-3 under defense? Yeah, or it could be a 3-4 under defense.
I'm not caught up with labels. Because I don't think it's going to be a ladies and gentlemen defense. I think it's hopefully going to be a defense that creates a lot of turnovers and gets the ball back to our offense so we can be productive on our offensive side of the ball.”
Q. Were you waiting for the Super Bowl teams to finish so you could interview one of the candidates or one of the assistants there to become the coordinator?
“Was I waiting for that? No.”
Q. Did you request to interview one of those coaches?
“Yes, we made a request for somebody, but we weren't waiting for that. We wanted to see what was the best possible scenario out there. I knew when I met Billy that I wanted to hire him. It was just making sure we looked at everything before we decided who we were going to hire.”
Q. Did you get declined by a team?
“We got declined by a team.”
Q. Was it Ed Donatell?
Q. Was it Ted Monachino?
Q. If you look at Billy Davis's track record as defensive coordinator, he's certainly had his struggles. What is it about this fit here that makes you think he'll have more success?
“Meet him, you'll make that determination and understand why I hired him. I think sometimes coaches get labeled. You have no idea really what goes on. And sometimes it's kind of like being the quarterback, because the quarterback gets probably too much credit and too much blame. It's the same thing for the defensive coordinator, too much credit, too much blame. I know when I talk to him in terms of him being a teacher and understanding the game of football, he's outstanding.
It's our job as a group to make a collaborative effort that we put the best look out there on the field. But everybody is involved in it. One thing I love about this game is it's a quintessential team game. Everybody has a hand in it. Everybody from the personnel department, to the President of this corporation, to Jeffrey [Lurie], to Howie [Roseman], everybody, our coaching staff, our players, everybody.
When you win or lose a game, and you single out one person, it goes against the whole tenet of what the game is all about. If it's the quintessential team game, we're going to win as a team or lose as a team, and nobody's going to shoulder that blame more than anybody else. The important thing is he's an outstanding teacher. He's got some really, really good ideas, and I'm excited to get going with him.”
Q. You say you evaluate defensive personnel, and you say you like some of what you saw what are some of the things that you did like? What are some priorities in terms of positions that you may need to look at, or is that still yet to be determined?
“We're still in the process, we haven't finalized all of our evaluations. But when I meant I look at some guys and there are some good, young talents there that excite you. So the cupboards aren't bare, but do we need to continue to bring in some more players to help us? Yeah, certainly. There is no question about that.
When I'm talking about do we have talent here? There is talent on this roster right now. But we'll always, every single day when we get up, try to figure out how do we make that better, and how do we add to that?”
Q. Have you prioritized what positions need more talent?
“Not right now, no. There will be. As we start to formulate where we're going, obviously, with free agency starting here in March and the draft starting in April, we have to start prioritizing at that point in time. But today in February, we haven't set a priority. We're still in the process of the full evaluation.”
Q. What were the guidelines in terms of picking your coaches, who you could take and who you couldn't?
“I didn't have any guidelines. When I talked to [Oregon AD] Rob Mullens, he was great. I think if anybody had an opportunity to do what they felt was better themselves, I think that was kind of the key to that. But I also, the one thing about Oregon that makes it such a special place is there are so many of those coaches on that staff that have been there for such a long, long time, that a lot of those guys weren't leaving.
The head coach changes, but the assistants don't, that's what makes that place so special. I have known Az [Jerry Azzinaro] for a long time. He was an east coast guy. He was the only full‑time coach I brought with me, and all the young guys it was an opportunity for them to grow as coaches.”
Q. What does Azzinaro bring?
“Again, he's a lot like Jeff Stoutland in my description of Jeff. He's a cutting‑edge thinker with old‑school toughness. He's a lot smarter than he lets people on to, so don't let him bite you when you guys interview him a little later on. Just extremely sharp, got a great vision. We're on the same page 99.99% of the time. We think alike.
When you sit down and talk with him, he's an extremely thought out, deep, deep, deep thinker. He's a guy that when you visit with him and you kind of peel back the layers and don't let him bite you, that he's a pretty special person to be around.”
Q. When you saw all LeSean McCoy’s tweets and of course after, does it concern you about character? The mindset behind that and what it may or may not represent as a leader of the team?
“Yeah, I talked to LeSean about that. I think with any time I have a meeting with one of the players that's private between myself and LeSean. And I think it has to be that way or you're never going to be able to have a meeting with a player.
But I also cautioned him like I cautioned everybody on this team of what goes on in social media. Sometimes people think the conversation is between two people, but it's the whole wide world that's watching. So I believe our job as coaches is to educate our guys and help them out. I had a conversation with LeSean. But I will leave that between myself and LeSean.”
Q. When you talk to Michael Vick over these last few weeks, you indicated to us that this would be a competition. Has Michael indicated that he'd be willing to stay here if he were not the starting quarterback?
“Yeah, he didn't give me any indication except he wanted to be here. In my meetings with Michael, I met with him twice, actually the second time was today because he stopped by after he signed his contract. I had never met him before. So I didn't have he any preconceived notions of what he's about and not about. Talk to me about your life, talk to me about where you're coming from, and talk to me about your mindset.
The one thing that attracted me to Michael after visiting with him, he's a competitor. I don't think he's afraid of anything, and he wants competition.
I've seen Nick Foles up close and personal. I think Nick want it's too. I think anybody, when you really look at it in probably the most competitive position on the field is the quarterback spot. So you want guys that want to compete.
I don't think anybody, whether you're in one of the other 31 franchises in this league, do you want something handed to you? And nobody wants anything handed to you. That's one of the thing that's stuck out to me about Michael was his competitive nature.”
Q. I read in one of your coaching clinics about what you value in a quarterback and how you like that QB to get the ball ‑‑
“You were at the clinic?”
Q. No, I read it. It was online.
“(Jokingly) Just sometimes, not the guys in this room, but sometimes things that are written down may not exactly be true.”
Q. But it says that you like the quarterback to get the ball out of his hands very quickly, 1.5 seconds, and every sack is on the quarterback, those type of things don't exactly speak to the Michael Vick that's been in the NFL up to this point. He's going to be 33 when he takes the field next? How do you balance those two things? Do you think you can change who he is or what he's been?
“Number one, I think when you look at his age and study it for quarterbacks, he is actually younger than Tony Romo and about the same age as Eli Manning. I think sometimes when you look at him because he has been in the league for a while and he came out early from college. And you look at his age and say, boy, he's aging. And it's funny. The only reason I say that is I mentioned that to Michael this morning, and he didn't know that. I think Romo was born in April, and Michael was born in June, and Eli was born in January, so they're around similar ages.
So I think there is a lot more to Michael. I think quarterbacks are a byproduct of their experience. But to sit here and say I understood the system that Michael's been in whether he's with the Falcons under Coach [Dan] Reeves or here, that depends on the system that you run. Some of the systems that they run they don't ask him to get the ball out quick. Do I think he can get the ball out quick? I think he's got an unbelievable release. It's up and out and it's quick.
What he's asked to do from a read progression and all those other things, I don't know what he's been asked to do in the past, but that's our job as coaches where he can get the ball out quickly, because we have some play makers on the offensive side of the ball that are going to flourish when we get the ball in their hands, so that's on us as coaches. Not on the quarterback.”
Q. Just following up on that, what did you see, and how did you evaluate Michael? What did you look at to be confident that this was a guy that you wanted around here next year?
“I looked at the film. Just studying the tape. Not worried about what the line call was or the protection was or what they were doing. But the velocity on the football, how quick does it get out of his hands? And one of the things when you look at Michael is his toughness. That can't be overrated at all at the quarterback spot is to be able to stand in there and deliver the football. When the rush is coming, I think sometimes obviously, the quarterback does get a lot of credit or discredit for what goes on out there.
But if somebody misses the block up front, and there is a three technique running clean, and you don't flinch and you still deliver the ball, or you throw the ball and it hits the receivers in the hand and it's tipped as an interception, that goes down on the quarterback as an interception, but sometimes it's not the quarterback's fault.
So when I was evaluating the tape and Pat Shurmur was evaluating the tape and we were looking at him is we were looking at his skill set. I think he still has a skill set. He can throw the football, he's got a quick release, and obviously, we know he can take off and run when necessary.”
Q. When you have your first mini camp, who is going to start out with the ones?
“(Jokingly) We'll go alphabetical.”
Q. So by last name?
“(Jokingly) First name, last name or flip a coin. We did enough reps in practice where no one's ever going to say we didn't get enough reps. That's another thing that we do from a practice standpoint is we'll be able to share that load.”
Q. Can you expect both to be working with the first team offense?
“Yeah, I do.”
Q. Can you bring us up to speed on the recovery of T Jason Peters and when you expect him to be a hundred percent?
“I talked to Jason on the phone just like everybody else, but I haven't gotten into any specifics injury‑wise and all of that. Every guy that was not here, I spoke to on the phone was just hey, introducing myself, when you get to town, love to have you stop by. But I haven't sat down and visited specifically on where he is.
From our talks with the people in this program, he's doing well, but I haven't had a chance to lay eyes on him or anything like that.”
Q. Is it your intention he'll be the starting left tackle?
“He'll be in the competition at left tackle.”