Eagles' Coaches Talk About the Colts

The Eagles' coordinators stepped up to the mike to share their thoughts on the Colts and their own units, and we've pulled out the highlights for you. Find out what their defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and assistant head coach/offensive coordinator had to say this week.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM JOHNSON

On whether he sees Colts QB Peyton Manning and Colts WR Marvin Harrison in his sleep:
"Yeah, no question about it. I always used to think the run and shoot was one of the toughest offenses to stop. This is like the run and shoot. There are so many skill people, such a good quarterback. They can break one at any time and get the deep pass. They're an exceptional offensive team, they really are, and they've been consistent over the years."

On what he remembers from playing them in 2002:
"I think it's changed a little since then. They've changed a little bit. Manning is more no-huddle, more just taking control of the game. I don't remember in 2002 him taking that control of a game. He still was a smart quarterback. We got him a couple of times, but he's harder to blitz now, he's harder to sack. He's got more command in the last four or five years in this game, so that's the biggest difference I see."

On how the cornerbacks match up against the Colts wide receivers:
"Of course those are going to be tough matchups, there's no question about it. We've got Marvin Harrison and [WR] Reggie Wayne, two of the best receivers in the NFL. Sometimes you're going to see Lito on Marvin, you're going to see Will, you're going to see Rod on Reggie Wayne, or Sheldon Brown, the same way. So, it's going to depend on the personnel group you have and most of the time you're going to see Sheldon matched up on Reggie Wayne and Lito matched up on Marvin Harrison."

On what it is that keeps happening to the defense on opening drives:
"It's hard to say. We had the third down there and we were close. [CB] Lito [Sheppard] looked like he was going to knock it down or make an interception and make a play. Next time they got a long run and then they scored. They got the momentum going. You always want to be three and out in that first series and we haven't been that. So, we always emphasize all the time and hey, it's not there."

ASST. HEAD COACH/OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MARTY MORNHINWEG

On whether they have to adjust the offense for QB Jeff Garcia:
"Yeah, just a little bit. Every quarterback is different and you try to play to their strengths.

On Garcia's strengths:
"Certainly, he has tremendous respect around the league for his toughness, that's first. And I think what some people overlook is that he is a highly talented quarterback. He plays the quarterback position very well. [He's] a high-level athlete that can move and groove just a little bit. [He's been] very accurate throughout his career."

On whether this is a game where they know going in that they are going to have to score a lot of points:
"Every game is different. It will be important that we play well. We may have to play one of our very best games, if not our very best game."

On how important the running game is this week:
"It's always important, always important on the road as well. It could be especially important against this type of football team."

On what amount of input he had in the decision to name Garcia the QB:
"[Head coach] Andy [Reid] makes that decision. We certainly discussed it as a whole staff."

On the Colts being ranked 32nd against the run:
"They're much better against the run than their stats show. Many teams go in against the Indianapolis Colts – whether it is on the road or at home – and they think that they have to run the ball on every down. You take that and then you take that they have played 10 games and eight of them have been very close, so people have stayed close doing that. Now, they have won nine out of 10 ball games and except for one team that hasn't worked for the end of the football game. Many teams have kept it fairly close and were able to continue to run the football. It looks like they have had an awful lot of runs at them as well. Yards-per-carry gets a little bit more into that."

On whether the Eagles O-line has an advantage against a smaller Colts D-line:
"They move. They're a little bit smaller than average, but much, much quicker and schematically they do some things – moving up front- to counter act that."

On whether Colts DE Dwight Freeney's stat totals are down because of the attention he garners from the other team:
"[They have] six-and-a-half sacks on their left side, our right side, and he has had two-and-a-half I believe. But I'll tell you what, he gets double- and triple-teamed from the start of the game to the end of the game and he is a heck of a player. It would be a huge mistake to overlook [number] 93 [Freeney]."

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR JOHN HARBAUGH

On what he has seen from the Colts coverage units:
"As far as the Colts coverage, I'm not quite as thankful for that. It's funny when you look at coverage. They have probably given up more yards than they want to. They look really good on tape covering. I think they have been hit with a few plays from time to time that have skewed it a little bit. Keith O'Neil is a big factor. They lost him about 3-4 weeks ago and I think that's been a factor for them. We expect him to play against us. They have played really hard. They compete. We'll see what they look like."

On whether Reno Mahe's return skills have been surprising:
"I think we all knew that he had skills in terms of running with the football. He's got the ability to make yards. He's not the fastest guy track-speed wise, but I'll tell you what, he's got football speed, maybe even a little more than I thought. He's shown some really good acceleration on some returns. I'll tell you one thing, when he gets the ball in his hands, I'm excited. I think he's got a chance to make some yards and make a play. That's good."

On what disappointed him most from Pacman Jones' punt return for a touchdown last week:
"What disappoints me most about not stepping up to make a play, was them not stepping up and making the play. If you look at the other two punts we covered you see [the combination of aggressiveness and discipline] there. You see just what you're looking for on the other two punts. It's not a matter of doing it on most every punt or almost every punt. If you're going to be dominant in coverage you have to do it on every single punt. You have to do it on every single kickoff. Sometimes that means playing a little more under control and other times that means playing more aggressively. What happens is those guys that have been out there, they know when to burst and when to get under control; when to squeeze leverage and when to come across a returner's face. The bottom line is when you tackle somebody, you squeeze the life out of him and you screw him into the ground. Those are things that our guys could have done better on that play. There's a lot of other little technical things even starting back that the protection could have been better. That play is a good example of what not to do in punt coverage. Unfortunately they had a returner back there that could make us pay with six [points]."

On whether there was a holding penalty that aided that return:
"No comment."

On what he attests to the Colts' net punting average not being very good:
"Well, the biggest thing is they've given up some returns. Hunter Smith punts the ball really well. He's averaging right around 48-yards and he's averaging 4.7 seconds on his hangtime. I just think they've been hit with a couple returns just like we have been hit with a return that dropped their net down. I think he's kicked very well."

On David Akers' field goal range inside a dome:
"He probably could hit from around 60 with the right ball and the right situation."

On how many times Mike Bartrum has had a bad snap on a field goal attempt:
"Great question. Can you remember seeing one of those? I can't remember seeing one since I've been here. I've been here 8 years and I can't think of one."


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