Reeves didn't practice today, Hatcher's wife had a baby so he missed some, mother and baby are doing fine, not much else is new. Hoyte looks OK.
Andy Reid said you called him when they were 5-5 to encourage him? I think a lot of him, sometimes even though you don't know a coach, you identify with him, it happened with me and Holmgren. I don't know why it did, I don't spend a lot of time with them, but we communicate. I enjoy getting to know him [Reid] and enjoy the competition, he does a good job. When I was a young coach, several senior coaches took time for me. I'm not trying to be corny here, but I made my mind up to do that for other young coaches, and I've done that. Not many can identify with what they are going through. Like Andy, he's doing a superb job. It all started when I was coaching the Jets in preseason. It was Reid's first head coaching job, I told him "You don't know how lucky you are to have as good a defensive coach as you got, you're lucky to have someone like Jim Johnson on you're first coaching job." That began the relationship. Ron Wolf knows him and thinks well of him, and for me that goes a long way.
NFC East? This division, there's not much to choose from between the teams. All the teams are reasonably capable teams, we all have problems, but the division itself still has 3 teams remaining in contention. This division makes you battle-hardened instead of just cruising along. The competition is strong, has some to do with parity, but that's not a negative. Back when I coached in the division before it had the same thing.
Pressure up the middle from the Eagles? They do that from time to time against everyone, against a certain style of QB they do it. It's not a novel concept to try and pressure a less mobile guy up the middle. They try to disrupt your offense, make you protect with your backs and create a mismatch or breakdown. They try to disrupt series by series. The times they do it to us well, they beat us, when we execute in that area we beat them. I expect a tough game. They're a good, hard-playing team.
Are you surprised it took so long to get back to the playoffs after the first year in Dallas? No because I knew what I had the first year - a lot of work to do, that's honest. I don't think I can be misled at my edge, I err on the other side; I never think a team is better than it was. Every situation is different, if you got the 1st pick in the draft and a good QB is available, you might get down the road quickly. Or you may need 5 or 6 key ingredients, along with subordinate things. Every situation is entirely different. The method you use is by evaluating where you are and the key things you need to do. Sometimes the situation won't let you do it, so you have to hold the fort. That's something people don't understand, sometimes you're restricted, economically, or by the options available. After the season, there will be free agent lists and you guys will pick out the names we should sign. Or the draft, which has a cottage industry around it, they say you should pick this guy, but they have no concept what you're looking for.
Is coaching worth it, even when you have 6-10 teams? It's always worth it. If you don't want to put yourself at risk, then get in another line of work. If you don't enjoy the competition, then do something else. This is a competitive industry, a scrutinized industry. You can't just pass off a bad day, people notice.
Are you aware about what happens with teams in your 4th year? I know what's happened but its not relevant. My 3rd year in NE we were a better team than we played. We won 6 games, but made critical errors in games or we would've had 10-11 wins. We were hurting on the defensive line but we fixed that. At the Jets it was different; they were like 10-38 before I went there. But they had quality players like Aaron. We we're lucky to get a few key things, like Curtis Martin, and Vinny and Kevin Mawae.
The thing I worry about most with this team is them getting the sense of what the playoffs will be like. My job, the hardest part of my job, is to take young players who haven't been there, or may be feeling good about just being in the playoffs. There are teams you'll play with different aspirations. That can manifest itself in the 1st quarter of the 1st playoff game; you have to get the team to understand. The Giant game in NY, the Atlanta game, those teams gave us their best shot, N.O. obviously did, and this team [Philly] will take their best job. If you survive it, it serves you well, you get battle-hardened. I do have some apprehensions; I'm sure Andy feels the same way. But it's nice to play for something important.
The loser of this game is in a less advantageous position, by Monday when we play; we'll know exactly where we'll be, win or lose.
It's always the same - pay attention to detail, do more work and study your opponent. Mistakes made now can send everybody home, so don't be the one who did it.
Are you worried the Eagles have that playoff experience over your team? I think they are a more veteran team than we are, but I've got some key vets around. I just think the team that plays the best will do well.
Are you tired of all the Terrell Owens distractions? I'm not tired of it. I understand the situation and I do the best I can. I'm making this work the best I can, without exception. Contrary to what people wanted to happen. That's the last comment on that today.
Garcia? Garcia is playing well. I'm not surprised, you don't stay in football that long without having something. He matches well with their system and the coaches. He's regained his confidence. When that happens, age doesn't matter.
Do you do anything different to deal with Garcia? I think you have to do things a little different for any QB. He's not like Vick, he's substantially different than Manning or Brees. You need to take away the things he does well as we would in other cases. We weren't very successful against Brees, partially successful with Vick.
You've built your teams on strong defense and a bus driver QB... That's not accurate. Phil Simms is no bus driver, he went 22-25 in the biggest game of his life, that's more than a bus driver.
Would you agree though you've built your best teams with defense? All good championship teams have good defenses.
Are you worried this teams doesn't have that? No, your just talking about recent events. We can play better on defense than we have recently. I know the players I have. I know we can play better. We didn't play badly at the end last week. If Ayodele hadn't fumbled that ball, that game would have been different. Unfortunately, he failed to bring it with him.
How will you handle the players on Christmas Day? I'll let them leave the hotel early in morning to go to their family, then be at the park later.
Is that worrisome? It's not worrisome; I'll talk to them about it. I'll tell them they can stay in jail with me instead.
Is Watkins better prepared for the Eagles this time? Watkins is better prepared.
Why do you say that, just because he has more experience now? I don't know what to call it, but your out there playing, you can call it what you want, but things happened when he was out there before, call it inexperience or stage fright. This is the second time around now, he's more familiar.
Is Romo ready for the Eagles complex defense? It's not complex. In their style they try to make you decide on where the pressure will come from. Atlanta runs some of the same combinations. I don't think we'll see a wholesale different picture. They will stay with their philosophy, and you need to combat it.
Westbrook? Westbrook is a good player. I want two of them. He will run the ball more than Reggie Bush. They got a good set of backs, like we do. Westbrook you can deploy anywhere and he commands attention, he can play out wide, he can do a lot of things like Bush, but he can run from the I-formation, too.
Problem covering the FB's? If I explained the FB thing and told you it happened repeatedly - really its just elementary, that we're breaking down.
Can you change personnel? I can't change personnel. What they have to do is recognize the play; I can't put a corner in for a LB on the goal line. We have a couple of guys doing it. We have a base redzone coverage, it's our main call and there are certain rules as the pattern unfolds, and you follow the rule. Like "first to the flat." How hard is that, if you see some one running out there, you run out there, that's the trouble.
Is it the inside LB's or OLB? On different defenses, it could be the ILB on tighter defenses, or the OLB on a regular defense. It's not difficult to solve, we haven't worked on it yet this week, when we do it this week in practice we'll see what happens. We had a coverage called , and we have two ways of playing it. In Atlanta, as fate would have it, the key player in this episode, thought we were playing it the first way and we were playing it the second way, so that's mental. On the second one against Atlanta, which was identical to one against New Orleans, the same guy did the same mistake. That's the way it goes sometime.