Mornhinweg Press Conference Transcript

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talks about how the offense is progressing through training camp. One of the big changes is going to more two tight end sets, which Mornhinweg thinks will be a nice feature.

Opening Remarks:

"The guys are doing a heck of a job. We are right in the middle of installation, right smack in the middle of it. So they are coming through that pretty good. In many of our periods, we are practicing very well and executing very well. In other periods we are making too many mistakes, so we are looking for consistency at this point. We've got a lot of good young players that are showing up and then our veterans are doing a nice job as well."

On what kind of mistakes he is seeing:

"It's across the board. Some of the young players are making mistakes because they are getting one play mixed up with another. We've got some technique problems occasionally that show up. We certainly have some scheme problems. A lot of things happen very quickly, especially up front, so we are working through that as well."

On whether TE Matt Schobel is catching the ball the way he would like him to and if not, whether it is just a result of being new:

"There are no excuses. Number one, he's doing an excellent job of separating. He creates separations, he's very athletic, so he's doing a nice job there. Certainly, he needs to catch the ball on a consistent basis. The second thing, now, if you catch the football, it gives you a chance to play for us. If you don't catch the football, you're not playing. It's as simple as that. Now, we are early in camp, again, we are right in the middle of installation and whatever the reasons are for, and I'm not talking just one guy, I'm talking all positions that catch the football, we've got to get it straightened out real quick."

On whether Schobel has to go through an adjustment period to get in sync with QB Donovan McNabb:

"We can make up all excuses and all those type of things, but there are no excuses. We catch the football."

On whether he likes the way TE Andy Thorn is catching the football:

"It's about the same as the first time I talked. He's really dramatically improved from last year. He's a guy that has worked himself into being a pretty good football player right now and he is a substantial football player. Both in the run game and the pass game, he is showing up."

On whether Thorn's blocking has dramatically improved from last year:

"Yeah, he's a big guy. He is a big, strong guy, so that's always been his strength. He's even got better, he's gotten a little bit better there and he's certainly improved in the pass game."

On how close Thorn was to being picked to play tight end last year instead of TE Stephen Spach:

"That was a hot and heavy competition there until the end, yeah, absolutely. It certainly was."

On what separated Thorn and Spach last year:

"We are not going to get into comparisons here, [head coach] Andy [Reid] selected Stephen Spach and he helped us. And Stephen Spach is a very good football player as well."

On whether the coaches have spoken to Schobel about him needing to catch the football:

"Oh yeah, he understands."

On whether he sees a difference in McNabb physically compared to last summer:

"Let's see, I have to go back to last summer. Yeah, just a little bit, yeah. It appears that he's healthy right now, so there is a little bit of a difference. He can push and move and groove a little bit, he's got a little juice with his feet right now. What comes out clear was last training camp and then early in the season, he was hurting pretty good."

On the two tight end sets and what they allow the offense to do:

"It's another way, and there are endless ways, to put heat on the defense. And that's one way you can do it; put two athletic tight ends that are good blockers on the line of scrimmage. Look, you can't just put them in there and throw the football. People will go nickel on you, we had that happen before. So, you have to be able to run the football a little bit with those two in there. But, I'll tell you what, it does put heat on there. It goes back to the Green Bay days with [TE Mark] Chmura and [TE] Keith Jackson. In San Fran, we had a couple different combinations with the great [TE] Brent Jones and [TE] Greg Clark and then Greg Clark and [TE] Eric Smith; they are two real good combinations there. It puts heat on them. How are they going to match up? Are they going to play man to man on those two? You got to go through all their things, all their checks, and so it put a little heat on you."

On whether the two tight ends sets keeps the defense from playing nickel:

"Yeah, defense can play nickel or dime anytime they want, but, yeah, you need to run it just a little bit."

On evaluating WR Darnerien McCants and whether its fair to decide who goes where this early on:

"It's early in camp, so the players that will make this team with separate themselves. Darnerien is having a good camp, he's a big, physical, strong guy, he's made some plays out here. He's a very bright guy. He rarely makes a mistake, typically a smart football player. He will go up and get the football and so he is having a strong camp."

On how G/T Todd Herremans is doing:

"He's coming, you remember it's his second year in this league and so it's a learning process for him even at this point. And as you know, he went outside [at tackle] and headed back and went inside [at guard]. And he's doing a solid job right now."

On whether his personnel, especially up front, in better suited to running the ball than it was last year:

"Not necessarily, you go back last year and you remember we had, geez, two games early in the season down by 21, we ended up winning one of those. We had another game that it was our plan to come out and throw the ball. We had another game where we were throwing the football and doing a lot. It was a very tight, low scoring game, we were throwing the ball late to win the game. And then, all of a sudden at midseason you are going, man, we aren't running the ball very much. So there were some reasons for that. But, our offensive line last year was pretty good. Now, you remember, we lost the whole left side; the center, left guard, left tackle, and then both of our receivers gone and Donovan and [RB] Brian Westbrook. So, it was a whole different situation last year, especially after we got through a third of a season, it was a whole different dynamic."

On the offensive line physically this year:

"We are good physically; we are good physically up front I believe. I think we will be strong there on offensive line. I think we will also have depth, as well, up front. They are doing a heck of a job as a group right now. We've got to tie up some protection things, but they are doing a heck of a job right now playing together as a unit. And that's the key, now it's the offensive line, it's not quite how you play individually, it's how you play as a unit. And it all starts up front. Whatever this football team does offensively, it starts up front."

On whether there are any spots where there will be tough decisions:

"Occasionally there are some tough decisions and Coach Reid will make those. And there are a couple positions where it is heavy competition."

On the positions where there will be heavy competition:

"Really all over the place, like I just said, we've got some depth on our offensive line. There's going to be some battles to make the team there. There is going to be battles at tight end to make the team. There is going to be several battles at receiver to make this football team. Typically, the guys separate themselves and they end up making the decision. And occasionally, you get two guys that are playing at a high level and Coach Reid will make that decision."

On whether WR Hank Baskett and McCants are similar at wide receiver, especially to be used in the red zone:

"Correct, you are right on there."

On whether Baskett and McCants are competing for the same spot or whether they could both make the team:

"We will see and as you know special teams come into play there as well. There are a few more things that just that position that go into make those decisions."

On whether he is concerned about TE L.J. Smith's shoulder and his shoulder being an issue last year as well:

"You need to talk to Andy [Reid] about the injuries, but I will say that he will, he's going to battle right through it I would expect."

On whether L.J.'s shoulder affected his play last year:

"No, I don't think so. Every player on the football team, every player on every football team in this league, typically every player is battling injuries. Some are a little bit more injured than others, but they go out and play and they overcome it."

On WR Reggie Brown's injury today:

"I can't speak on that, you need to talk to Andy [Reid] on that."

On WR Jason Avant being hurt and how that is setting him back:

"We would like to have him out here. However, I do think Jason is a bright guy, he's studying hard. He's doing all of his preparation diligently. We will get him back on the football field when he's healthy and we will see."


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