Reid Has a Lot To Talk About At Lehigh

With rookies set to report to training camp, the Eagles have plenty of questions to answer. The first is just when first round pick Brodrick Bunkley will be in town, but there are plenty of other players with question marks after that.

Brodrick Bunkley and the Eagles are stuck on some very important numbers. The first set of numbers center around just how much money the Eagles have left in their rookie pool. The second set of numbers consists of just the numbers 5 and 6 - as in how many years Bunkley's contract will cover. As the two sides hash out all of the numbers, Bunkley is staying away from camp until a deal is done.

What Andy Reid has to say about Brodrick Bunkley:

"I have said this before, that it is tough on rookies and particularly that position. If you go back and do some of your work on the history of defensive tackles over the last few years, their success rate - and this goes for most positions - but we're talking about him, you miss practice and it's tough to get yourself in the flow. It just happens that position just jumps out at you."


Reid started the day by filling in the media on some previously unknown injuries to young players. Wide receiver Jason Avant had knee surgery a month ago to repair some cartilage damage that he suffered during the May mini-camp and Jeremy Bloom tweaked a hamstring while working out at Donovan McNabb's yearly camp in Arizona. Reid said that Avant is close to returning to action and that Bloom was undergoing an MRI which would give them more news on how serious his injury may be. Both players were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Thursday. Also added to that list was Correll Buckhalter; the running back underwent knee surgery and is close to returning, but needs a little more time.

"He's close but I still want to see a little bit more," said Reid about Buckhalter. "I will continue to watch his rehabs and watch him closely. We'll see how he does here in the next few days. PUP (physically unable to perform list) is one of those day-by-day things that you can work with during camp and I want to see how he progresses these next couple days."

The Eagles also announced that center Jamaal Jackson signed a nice sized contract extension that will keep him in Philly through 2013. The 26-year-old Jackson made the most of his first playing opportunity in the NFL in 2005. Jackson (6-4, 330) filled in admirably at center for an injured Hank Fraley for the final eight games of the season last year after spending the earlier parts of his career on injured reserve and the practice squad. The seven-year deal will allow Jackson to fulfill one of his dreams to start a foundation one day to help those afflicted with diabetes. His mother, Sadie, had been unable to work because of a severe case of diabetes and Jamaal took jobs at the age of 17 to help support the rest of his family.

Andy Reid on Jackson's new deal:

"The contract extension is obviously a pat on the back for the great job that he did when he had an opportunity to play this past season. Again, he is up against stiff competition and we'll see how that goes throughout this camp."

Speaking of that competition, Reid doesn't expect incumbent center Hank Fraley to read too much into Jackson's contract. "Hank understands that there is a competition there and we have been very upfront with him. I don't think Hank is too worried about Jamaal's contract. He just wants to get out and play," explained Reid.


Other news and notes from Andy Reid's press conference.

Opening remarks:

"We look forward to getting this started, the 2006 season. Obviously we thought we took steps forward with that during the mini camps and I felt very good coming out of the mini camps. I feel very good coming into these practices. We're going to give you three days with the rookies. They'll practice for an hour 15 minutes, twice a day. We will have an opportunity to teach them what will take place when the veterans come in and it's again a rehash of what they learned at the last mini camp and the progression will take them right into this camp. I think I have addressed, at the mini camps that we have put behind us the 2005 season. We have moved forward. All the players feel that way, the coaches feel that way. We're ready to go and get ourselves going again for 2006."

On the '06 Draft Class:

"To be very honest with you I think we did a decent job there. Now I will tell you that about two weeks into this camp you can ask me that question again and I'll have a better idea. I want to see when there minds and bodies are tired and worn out. Let's see how they get off the turf and play at that time."

On if this camp has a different feel to it:

"We're going to do what we do. We come out to training camp and we work hard to get ourselves better. We don't care necessarily what happened last year. We don't care what is going to happen in the next coming year. We care about what's happening today and right now and we are going to prepare ourselves and build that foundation to strengthen this football team for the 2006 season and that's it. I think the rest of it has been talked about, rehashed; you guys have all had your opportunity to have your opinion on it, which is great. Now we are into this, and this is now, and we are moving forward."

On if having the extra week of camp is different:

"I've gone through and organized the best way I can. I've had an opportunity to go through and play in the Hall of Fame game before. With that, you do start early, you get a few more practices in and I've tried to tailor it the way I want it tailored so that we don't completely wear the guys out for the beginning of the season."

On where big plays may come from:

"I think we have talent that Donovan can work with. I'm not going to get into naming every guy but there are other players on this football team that can make plays."

On how everyone will respond to the questions regarding last year:

"I'll tell the people that ask that just come watch us practice and then they can make their decision from that. The players, I've addressed the players, I addressed them in the first meeting of the mini camps. We're ready to go. I don't think as a football team we are worried about what happened in 2005. My feeling is we are moving on and it's a new year and every year is different in the National Football League."

On how a sports hernia is a tough injury and how they will monitor that:

"Rick Burkholder has done research on that. That's an injury you see a lot in hockey players and soccer players. Rick has talked to people. We have had a couple guys that have had sports hernia surgeries. We're staying on top of it."

On if he spent personal time rehashing last season:

"I took care of all that back during the mini-camps. I came into the mini-camps fresh and ready to go."

On if they will monitor Donovan extra close because of his return from the surgery:

"We're going to let him go. He was able to do everything during the mini-camps. He felt very good about the progress he had been making and the doctor that had done the surgery checked him and felt he was full-go. He's been working out like crazy so we'll let him get in there and we will take it practice-by-practice and see how he does."

On how eager the players were for this season:

"They were ready to go. I told you back then that I was very impressed with how they came in and had put things behind them. They were upbeat, positive, there was a lot of competition and they were challenging each other. Offense challenging the defense and the defense challenging the offense, it was just a great atmosphere for football right there. Now we get to put the pads on and do this for the next month."

On if he was confident that the players would be that way:

"I've said this before that that is one of the things I look for when they come back. Last season was a little different and I thought I knew what I would see and I got what I was thinking and hoping that they would come back like."

On if it bothers him that for the first time in a while people are questioning them:

"I don't worry about all that. I tell the players this all the time. You control what you control and you don't worry about the other things, it drives you crazy. We focus in and we take it play-by-play and we go with it. The rest of it we can't worry about."

On if he changed his routine at all after last year:

"No. Not necessarily."

On what will take place the first couple of days:

"We'll give them the install. Really the same three days they will get when the veterans come in. We'll load them up mentally and then what it allows you to do is not so much teamwork, but individual work with the players. And, again you are only keeping them out there a little over an hour. That's very short lines."

On how they built for 2006 moving forward:

"I think everybody goes back through and analyzes and thinks what they need to do a little better, whether you're a coach or a player, head coach included. You focus in a little bit more and you make sure you've gone back through and analyzed everything that you need to do self-scout wise in the off season. Personnel-wise, like I said in the beginning, I think we had a decent draft. We'll see here as we get into camp and work through it."

On what sort of subtle things were done to improve team chemistry:

"I think we are fine."

On if he has any reaction to Terrell Owens' book:

"Nope."

On if he read Owens' book:

"No, I was here."


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