Eagles coach Andy Reid spoke to the media today, breaking his silence about the team since the end of the season.
“I appreciate your patience over the last few weeks for the summary of my feelings on the season,” Reid said. “I thought it was important to step back and take a thorough look at things, starting with myself and the job which I did this year and the coaching staff and the players and the direction we decided to go in free agency. I was able to do that over the last few weeks and we were able to finalize the spot that was vacant on our staff by bringing in Todd Bowles. I had a chance to evaluate the coaches and let them know how we did as a team, I felt both sides of the football and special teams have a tremendous room to improve. Juan will remain as the defensive coordinator. Todd will coach the secondary and then we’ll move on. Everything else will remain the same. Mike Zordich will work with the safeties.”
Why did you decide to bring Castillo back? “I never really was at that point. I just stepped back and kind of evaluated the whole situation. It never really came down to that. Juan was going to be there. In this league, titles are thrown all over the place. Those two and Spags, I thought that could be done. We opened it up and looked at a couple of other people that I thought could fit in there and work as a staff. No different than I would do on the offensive side. I talked to Juan throughout the process. That never came about. We never went in that direction. I know a lot of things were out there and written, that’s all part of it.”
On Steve Spagnuolo: “Steve Spagnuolo was another topic and one that I understand and is a fine football coach. Steve and I talked throughout the season as we do every year. When Steve was released from the rams, I did offer him a spot to coach here if he needed one, a place to land, with open arms. My feelings was if you can have two great coaches on defense, that’s even better than just having Juan himself. That’s about as far as it went there. We didn’t talk about titles. He had opportunities to look at other places and I completely understand that and he wanted to go to New Orleans. That’s a positive for him.”
On Todd Bowles: “I wanted to bring someone in, just like Marty and I have an opportunity to bounce things off of offensively wanted to make sure Juan had someone to bounce things off defensively, run the same scheme. That’s’ where Steve fit in and that’s where Todd fits in with the back end. This should be a nice thing. Todd is an individual with a nice resume … He decided he wanted to come back home where he went to school. His fiancé lives here. Her family lives here. Juan and I have a great relationship. They met over the last few days here.”
On Spagnuolo and Castillo working together: “I thought the two of them together would be tremendous. They have a great relationship. It’s the same defense.”
On what Jeffrey Lurie said about the decision to retain him: “I understand this is a business. I always appreciated the support Jeffrey has given me here, along with Joe Banner. They have given me every opportunity to win football 8-8 is not good enough. Everything he said I agree with. There’s no different feeling on this end. We’re sitting here watching and we don’t like to watch. Even though we finished strong and hot, that wasn’t good enough … for the coaches and players that we have here.
On the last four games: “The positive you can take out of it as a football team. Bottom line is – and there is where fool’s gold comes in – we won the last four games but it wasn’t good enough. We’re sitting here. The bottom line is we have to do better.”
On the offensive staff: “Everything remains the same on the offense. We need to take care of business on the turnovers. We had five games when we lost in the fourth quarter. We only scored three points. We are better than that. We need to dig in on that.”
On the special teams: “Special teams staff will remain the same. We just need to get better on the return phase for special teams.”
On why Castillo said he didn’t know his status: “I never talked to him about status. Didn’t go with anybody in that status … I don’t know exactly what he said, either. I think they all knew I was stepping back and analyzing. That was the important part.
On the defense at the end of the season: “I saw us get better. We had some moving parts on the defensive side. I felt it would take some time for it to come together. Saw progress. Liked the scheme we were teaching and the way we were executing. The players were all in and they believed in Juan and the scheming he was doing. It ended up working the way we had hoped it would have worked earlier.”
On any increased pressure from Lurie remarks: “I’m not a very patient person. That’s why we’re in the business. We wwant to win every game. There is no more pressure than there has been. We do this to bring the city of Philadelphia and championship. That’s why players play and coaches coach. That’s how we do it … He didn’t say anything that ruffled my feathers. I completely agree with everything he said … My point is, we are going to bust our tails to get it right.”
On whether they made too many changes last offseason, as Lurie suggested: “I would tell you, there were moving parts. New players and that. From my standpoint, from a coach’s standpoint, those are excuses for me to sit up here and say that. It’s a different seat that Jeffrey sits in. From where I sit, I can tell that same things that I told you during the season. There were moving parts. Anticipated the offense was ahead of the defense. We didn’t do that. We were 30th in the National Football League. I’m responsible for the whole shebang. I don’t want to sit up there and give you any excuses. Very optimistic about going forward and next year. There is a lot of hard work and a lot of things we need to correct.”
On moving forward: “We’re going to take free agency and the draft aggressively as we have in the past … Howie and I are going through and get those guys down and know them like the back of our hands and be selective about who we bring onto this football team and then we’ve got a ton of draft picks … That doesn’t mena I’m happy about 8-8. But I’m not crying over it. I’m going to go forward and attack that issue going forward.”
More on Spags: “He never came in. He went and visited other places. He loved the situation in New Orleans and I’m happy for him. We’re still friends until we play them next year. I wish him the best.”
Does Vick think turnovers are important as you do?: “I think he understands, not that every one of them were Michael Vick’s, but there were too many of them. I think he would say the same thing … There are some things that he can specifically attack this offseason and he’s in the right frame of mind to do that. He’s been in constant communication since the season ended … He’s ready to get in and get better.”
Vick’s style: “You learn from the last four teams playing in their playoffs. All four quarterbackcs are stars … But you have to be healthy or as healthy as you can be playing this game. He was able to see that this year. Does that mean he’s never going to be able to run the ball again … When you do that, is there a time to get out of bounds and get down so you live the next play.”
What did you see when you evaluated yourself?: “The primary thing was I doing my job to the best of my ability. What could I improve on? Why did we end up being 8-8? Why did we start over 1-4? What can I do during the new rules of training camp? If you are doing it the right way, you better put the pressure on yourself. Are you demanding enough of the players? Are you too hard on the players? You have to find the right balance. The press conference the day off the season ends, you are probably not in the position to sit in front of you here and give you the whole scoop and what you’re thinking. This bought me time to go take a look and go forward.”
Was there a time when you didn’t want to come back?: “There wasn’t. I want to make sure that I can still do the things that I think are the responsibilities of the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl. That’s’ what you do. You step back and analyze.
On the press conferences: “I’m not trying to be mean or rude. I’m trying to make sure we stay together as a football team.”
On whether they will make fewer changes: “I think we have a good nucleus of people under contract that we’ve been able to bring in over the last couple of years that can help us down the road … We also have a good number of draft picks.”
How difficult was the process of analyzing?: “You have to divide some things up and separate the last four games. As coaches and players, if you are stale then that thing never come to fruition. You’re going to lose the last four games. You take the first five games. Better analyze those babies right there. That was not a good picture. Try to be real. Start with yourself, training camp, your presentation to players, trying to do too much offensively, defensively. Go through and analyze that and try to come up with an answer. “
On the relationship between Andy and the fans: “The fans, they want to win a championship. I completely understand it. When I’m out in public at different events, the fans have been good to me. I appreciate their support, showing up to games. One of the things we’ve looked at is our home record. We’ve got to do better at home throughout the season. I understand. I’ve always said the fans and myself are on the same page. When we stink, I’m probably the first one who knows we stink and the fans are right there with me. And when we do good, it’s the same way.”
On turnovers: “You have to have a little luck in this game. Ball has to bounce right in a few different situation. It’s a few situations, not being 30th in the National Football League in that category. There are no excuses for that many turnovers.”
On DeSean Jackson: “I was proud for DeSean and showing maturity and stood up and admitted to everybody he didn’t handle things the right way. The last six games, he did a nice job for us. I was proud of him for that … We’re looking at it right now. We haven’t come to any conclusions .. You saw progress the last five or six games there.”
On make or break season: “Every season is that way. As a coach and a player, it’s a make or break season. That’s how you look at it and if you don’t, you’re taking the wrong approach. That better drive your tail all offseason.”
On young linebackers: “We understood the safety position and linebackers were young guys. You saw growth in those position that could help us down the road next season and the seasons going on. We don’t devalue that position.
On injury updates: He said he is monitoring the progress of Brent Celek and Jamar Chaney. Mike Patterson should be ready for training camp unless there's a setback.
Read more from the Daily News' Rich Hofmann as he asks: Did the Eagles really want Spagnuolo?