Asked about making rookie guard Danny Watkins inactive yesterday in the season opener, Andy Reid said it wouldn't have been fair to Watkins to play him. Reid reiterated his belief in the firefighter-turned-football player, but he did not indicate there was any plan to get him on the field anytime soon.
Reid seemed to hint that the five workout days Watkins missed while his contract was being worked out this summer pretty much doomed the first-round pick's starting prospects, although Reid never said that at the time.
“I thought he could take a step back to take a big step forward," Reid said, repeating what he said last week. "And with that, I thought he missed some crucial time in particular in our install period .. the first week or two are very important weeks or days and each one is crucial, and you get that down pat and have an opportunity to practice … [College to NFL, tackle to guard, left to right] Those are three things there that are tough to get acclimated and then you add in there the lockout, minicamps and then missed times by holding out. He’s been playing catchup since he got here. It’s not fair to stick him in there. I wanted to give him as many reps as I could get him and then pull back. DeVan knows the offense. He’s a veteran player. Danny’s day will come. He’s a talented kid. There is too much catchup there.”
In his opening remarks, Reid made it clear he understands and the team understands that Sunday's win is not a blueprint for the rest of the season, or even for this coming week's game at Atlanta.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on after the game yesterday. The players, you had a chance to talk to them and from seeing what they said, they were humble and that they understand the situation. We’ve got to continue to get better and get better against a good football team this week playing down there at their place," Reid said. "That is what we will do as players and coaches. On the other hand we understand how tough it is to win games in this league.”
“In general, from our return game to our offense to our defense, we continued to get better throughout the game. Some of our young players got better throughout the game. Specifically, I thought our young linebackers improved with every opportunity to play. They started off playing cautious football at the linebacker spot, sort of checking things out. As the game went on, they picked it up. That was a nice run by Steven on the first play. The hole was pretty big. I might have been able to fit through that hole. As the game went on, they tightened things up. The seams, the lanes for runners to run through were tightened up and progressively got better.
“The O-line, they look like they worked well together. It was a good test for them right off by playing in a stadium that is a dome and is very loud. I was encouraged by the way they handled the noise. We have a young center in there, who actually I thought played well. We’re asking him to do a lot of things and I thought he handled it well for the most part. The communication got better between him and Mike as the game went on. We had a couple of stumbles early where we had to use some timeouts. In the second half, the process was pretty clean there.
“I thought LeSean (McCoy), we’re asking him to do a couple of different runs from the last couple of years. We used some of them in this game. The opportunities he had, he took advantage of them, was very patient, waiting for the pulling lineman and then was bursting off them .. .The first couple of steps tell the story. I thought he did a nice job bursting through there.
“Normally, this early, your third down percentage is a little lower than what we had here. That was a positive here in the game on both sides of the game.
“Good to get Maclin and Steven Smith through the game and get them actual game time and reps. I thought they help up, Jeremy had a more snaps than Steven. Good to get them through and both of them come out healthy.”
“I thought our d-line consistently put pressure on the quarterback. I thought as the game went on, I thought they used their hands well to transition to the run game. We’re an up the field, charge team and at the same time have to use their hands to shed.”
On how this is different than after Week 1 last year, when the Eagles had injuries to Jamaal Jackson, Leonard Weaver and Kevin Kolb: “The name of this game is going to injuries that will take place. It’s important to have the depth. Howie (Roseman, the GM) has done a good job to give the coaches an opportunity to have good players and the second team players work their tails off for opportunity. If something were to happen, we feel good about those players.”
On success running the ball in the fourth quarter: “Over the years, I’ll take you back to Bill Walsh days of this offense, with Mike Holmgren in Seattle … you see the second half and in particular that fourth quarter be productive for that runner. That’s the way you want to do it. If you have the lead ,you want to keep the clock moving.”
On LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter (95 yards rushing): “I think in his rookie year, he came in and didn’t quite understand the demands. Brian Westbrook was a good helper there in the demands of playing running back in the National Football League. He came back the next year in much better shape and maintained that during the lockout. He came to camp in shape … That matters in the fourth quarter of games … Really comes down to the shape he is in.”
On Michael Vick sliding: “We’re making progress. This is one of the most competitive guys you are ever going to meet.”
On the miscommunications that led to timeouts: “We’re going to try to work on those things and get that cleared up. We’ll get that covered. That’s my responsibility and we’ll get that done.”
On whether the O-line is protecting the way he wants them to: “Teams are going to blitz you. You’re not going to hit on every one. When you do hit, you want to make them productive. The best quarterbacks in the league, and I put Michael in that category, they are going to get hit. That’s how this works. It’s what they do with the ball. You make the defense pay, they’re not going to blitz as much. He made some big plays, just like he did last year. Not everyone is going to be perfect, but the great ones find a way to get that done and that’s what he did.”
On Vick’s return to Atlanta as a starter: “You have to put that part out of your mind and focus on the game plan. He’ll do that, he played in big games before.”
On the injury front:
*Akeem Jordan has a slight labral tear in his right shoulder. “He’ll struggle this week. We’ll see how he does. We’ll take it day by day.”
*Juqua Parker had his foot X-rayed after waking up with some soreness. “He’s fine. It’s negative. He’s doing OK.”
*Darryl Tapp has a pec strain. Reid said Tapp “tore it pretty good” and is sore, although he did not expect it to be a long-term injury. On Twitter, Tapp said: "Even though I am banged up a lil, I am blessed."
*Vince Young (hamstring) “is making progress. He was out running today. Again, we’re in that stage where it’s a day by day thing.”
To read Domo's report card from yesterday's game and make your grades, click here.