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Wade Phillips press conference 10/31/07 - fake kneel-down edition

I missed the very beginning because I waited diligently for the press conference to start, but Wade was late as usual, so I stepped out of the room for a few minutes, and it started. Naturally. Apparently Wade said Anthony Henry practiced some today but it was with the scout team.

Donovan McNabb look better on the film from last week?
McNabb, by his own admission is getting better coming off the injury, he feels more comfortable. He was moving around better creating more time to throw, you could see that against Minnesota. He’s back. It’s a physical and mental thing, don’t know his exact case, but you get over it mentally and then physically, and it looks like he’s over it.

How would you use Anthony Henry if he can play?
I’d use him on defense. (laughter) Like Newman I think, if he’s to that point. We’d play him some and see if he feels comfortable. Different type of injury from Newman, it’s been four weeks and we were hoping he might be completely well and I won’t count that out yet. He went through some individual drills, he got better as the practice went along, he was a little tentative at first but got better. I was encouraged he could move around.

Practice focus today?
Good concentration, they got into the practice, a little quieter today. They might’ve been thinking more because it’s Weds. We did some stuff Monday and we put in everything but it’s still the first day to practice it. We make adjustments, look at tape and learn from that, tomorrow will be sharper.

Philly defense?
Tough, they lead the NFC in points given up, a big stat. They looked like they always do, aggressive and good against the pass, they stuff the run, great job on Peterson, only a 3.5 yard/carry average. That was impressive, they blitz, mostly on 3rd down. (Do you practice for the blitzes more this week?) We have protections set up for all our plays and hot routes, we have a blitz period every day in practice. You have to protect the QB first, can’t let him get hit. We work hard on that.

McNabb says the NFC East goes through Philly, is he right?
I think that any team that has won it before, they earn that respect, from last season and they’ve done it 5 times in 6 years, you earn that respect. But we’re going to try and change things.

How important is Andre Gurode in calling protections this game?

Our center is important in protections if we need to make changes. Sometimes, they show a blitz and we have it protected, but sometimes it needs to change. So he needs to make the calls and he’s good at it. Only 9 times in the whole season last year where didn’t make the correct call. I didn’t know a lot about him before I got here, but I’ve been impressed, he’s playing at Pro Bowl caliber.

I skipped some questions here because they weren’t very interesting and then someone asked Wade about his time coaching in Philly. Wade was answering blah, blah then all of a sudden I hear from Wade:

The fake kneel-down was the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in football. (Then he goes right back to talking about coaching, ignoring the money quote he just laid down.) They hadn’t won since Vermeil, in ‘88 we won the division and I though we were great coaches, but Andy Reid has done it 5 times. We had good players, Reggie and Co. It was a lot of fun building a team and winning.

Did you learn some things from Buddy Ryan?
Scheme-wise sure. I went there because of the 46 defense, after the Bears had won with it was the hot defense. One reason I agreed to be the DC was I wanted to learn more about it. I still use some of the ideas, but people got away from it for different reasons. I learned a lot there, I learned things from Buddy. I wanted to make it too simple, the information to the players, but he taught me you can give them more than what I thought. We gave them a tremendous amount of stuff. I also learned what not to say to the press from Buddy. (laughter)

At this point, one smart reporter went back to the fake kneel-down quote and asked him to explain it more.
I was embarrassed, we were ahead by 10 points with like 5 seconds left in the game and we run a fake kneel down? Mike Quick could have got hurt, or Cunningham. Then they called pass interference with no time left on the clock and we ran in for a TD! I don’t coach that way. (Did you tell Buddy that?) Yes I told him. I said I didn’t think it was right. He said back, (grumble noises). He didn’t care what I thought.

Philly Fans?
Good fans. They boo quicker than some fans, but when I was there they hadn’t been winning, we improved and got better and after three years won the division, so it was pretty positive from that stand point. Now we weren’t getting a lot of first downs, so they booed the offense and cheered the defense.

What do you still use from the 46 defense?
Some pressures that we run, some concepts. Most of the 46 stuff was all man-to-man. Buddy wanted to say its your fault if someone catches it, he didn’t like zone because it wasn’t anybody’s fault. He’d give the MLB the WR in man-to-man coverage then yell at him for blowing it. It was a lot of man-to-man and combination coverages. But beating protections was the thing I most learned from it.

Now that was an entertaining press conference Wade. For anybody confused about the fake kneel-down, go here.

(Disclaimer: These press conference recaps are just paraphrases of what Wade Phillips says and aren’t vetted for total accuracy on quotes. I shorten and condense things he says but try to get across the intended meaning. Occasionally, what I post loses the context of something Wade said and may appear counter-intuitive. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)

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