First, the good news.
Reid believes that the play of Brian Westbrook has been a definite positive. With Westbrook healthy, Reid believes that his running back is finally getting a chance to show just how good he can be. "I didn't necessarily have a question on that. We got him the ball in many different ways so he has always had a lot of touches," said Reid. "He's doing a nice job with the run game and doing a nice job in the pass game also." Reid also stressed that Westbrook hasn't had any issues with his recurring knee problems for the past few weeks.
Jeff Garcia also got the praise of his head coach. "I was fairly conservative with him early and as the game went on we opened it up a little bit more," confessed Reid. "You think back on it, the guy has been in this league a long time and has been in this offense a long time. He knocked a little rust off and kind of got it going and did very well I think." The Eagles have been impressed with Garcia's work ethic and how he has kept himself ready to play. Garcia threw to eight different receivers, but wasn't able to get Reggie Brown and Donte Stallworth involved in the offense as much as they've been in previous weeks. It's likely a matter of Garcia simply getting more comfortable and finding out who he feels most in tune with among the potential receivers. "I think as he continues to build and grow within what we are doing here, we'll expand it a little bit more with him and we'll get him more with the wide receivers," said Reid. For his part, Garcia thinks there isn't much of a difference in the Eagles' game plan from when Donovan McNabb was running the offense. "I really don't see major differences as to what we're doing with myself in there, as opposed to the type of offense we were utilizing when [QB] Donovan [McNabb] was in there," observed Garcia. There is one major difference that Garcia thinks will solve itself. "You haven't seen the major throws down the field yet, but that's something that's going to come. It's a matter of presenting itself in a game and taking advantage of certain opportunities."
With the showing – or lack of showing – of the defense, Reid knows there are problems, but continues to look for the positives. "We've got to just get back to playing downhill football is really what it comes down to. [Playing] good, aggressive football up front and we'll be okay," stressed Reid. Never one to point fingers, Reid side-stepped putting any blame on any specific player or even a particular area of the defense, even though many are staring suspiciously at the linebackers. "I'm not pointing at the outside linebackers. I think as a team and that starts with me, we all have to be more consistent. That'll be a big part of it this next week, making sure we can do that."
Brian Dawkins is also slow to point any fingers, but like Reid, he believes it's just a matter of playing better. What he doesn't believe is that other teams are simply figuring out the Eagles' defense and have a plan to exploit any of its' weaknesses. "If that was the case we'd get thrashed every week because coaches talk to each other and they talk about the things that can happen against this defense," said Dawkins. "I don't know that there is a biggest problem. If you have one guy in his gap and one guy is over playing his gap, those two things cause that hole to be that much bigger," explained Dawkins. "We just have to - technique wise - do what it is the coaches are asking us to do."
The defensive struggles seem to have gotten to Jeremiah Trotter, who spoke about not knowing how to salvage the season or how to get the defense to play better after Sunday night's loss to Indianapolis. Rookie Brodrick Bunkley has also gotten a lot of attention because of his diminishing playing time, followed by an episode where he missed the team flight to Indianapolis for Sunday's game. Reid believes both are non-issues. "I've looked at what [LB Jeremiah Trotter] said - I read what he said and looked at what he said - and I didn't take it as a negative." Reid believes that Bunkley's playing time is also a non-issue. "Well he had played up until this past week now and this last week wasn't because of how he was playing. The more and better that you do in games, and the better you do in practice, the more you are going to play in the game. Those are the things we look at and we evaluate," said Reid.
What else Reid had to say…
Injury update and opening remarks:
"Really, there are no injuries to talk about today. Everybody will practice and we will see how everybody does."
"We look forward to the challenge of playing the Carolina Panthers, a very good football team with a tremendous defense who is playing very well and at a very high level right now. [They have] an offense we have experienced before that can put points on the board. [They also have] a good, solid special teams."
On what he sees as the problems for the defense after reviewing the tape:
"We need to play better. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to get into all the details of it, but we need to play better and we really need to do it on both sides of the ball and special teams. We're all in this thing together and that's how we need to approach it."
On whether it is tough to convince a team that things can turn around after losing five of six games:
"No. I just tell them the truth. I've got some good leadership on the team and during the tough times they will step up and do an even better job than they are doing now."
On how RB Brian Westbrook has held up and responded to the increased work load he has gotten:
"He seems to be doing very well as far as his knee goes. It's help up and is strong and there hasn't been any recurrence of the swelling or any of that."
On whether the team will practice in pads again this week:
On whether that was something they tried last week and now it is time for a different or new approach:
"That's a couple different questions there, but with the part about the pads, we do this when we get to a certain part of the year. I went over that time and I felt like it is a time to get back out of them and go about business that way."
On whether he wants to see what DT Brodrick Bunkley can do in these next five weeks:
"We'll see how he does in practice and if he gives us the confidence that he can go in and do things and be productive in there than he will be in there. Just like anybody else."
On how much longer he thinks Garcia can play in the NFL:
"He keeps himself in phenomenal shape and it looks like his arm strength hasn't fallen off at all, so who knows. I don't know that. You're probably right, he could probably last three more years, four more years. I don't know that. You also have to remember he started late. He got into the NFL when he was a little bit older."
On what he has heard about how QB Donovan McNabb is recovering after surgery:
"Donovan is doing well. He's actually rehabbing right now so that he can get himself back into town here this next week. He's rehabbing well and feeling pretty good."
On whether he knows when McNabb is expected back in Philadelphia to continue his rehab here:
On how bad of a loss it was to lose TE/LS Mike Bartrum to a season-ending injury:
"Well, from a personal standpoint I have been with Michael a long time. I enjoy having him around, plus he is a good football player. As good a football player as he is he's an even better person. He was great to have in the locker room and so on. Losing him as a long-snapper, he was one of the best in the business. You're going to miss that part of it. It's important that [LS] Jon [Dorenbos] gets in there and he gets his timing down with [K] David [Akers] and [P/H] Dirk [Johnson]. But, will we miss him, yeah. I'm going to make him stay around here because of that personality that he brings."
On what it would mean to the Panthers running game to get RB DeShaun Foster back and his impressions of their running game in general:
"He's a heck of a running back. So is DeAngelo [Williams], he's a pretty good running back, too. They've got two good ones and they like running the football. DeShaun, he's a veteran player, so I'm sure they'd be glad to have him back in there."