Andy Reid Press Conference Transcript

After two weeks of mini-camp, Andy Reid is feeling good about his team and their quarterback. Reid talked about mini-camp and the health of his quarterback at a press conference Thursday.

Opening Remarks:
"As far as the injuries go, [WR] Zac Collie is making progress with his fibula. [TE] L.J. Smith is moving around with a sports hernia, he's walking, and making progress. Things are moving very well for him right now. [OT] William Thomas was able to get some individual work done this camp and we kept him out of team activities, but his knee is doing well. [TE] Matt Schobel, likewise, was able to come in and do some individual work. He's getting better with the hamstring strain. And, then, [QB] Donovan [McNabb] has quite a bit of work to do over this week, in team periods and the seven-on-sevens. He looks very good, and has worked hard to get himself to this position. He is progressing probably a little bit ahead of schedule of what we anticipated."

On any initial reservations about getting Donovan McNabb out on the practice fields this week:
"It was more of joint decision. Number one, you have to make sure Donovan feels okay with it. Then the doctors that were involved with it, and then Rick [Burkholder] and myself were all a part of that. He felt comfortable and we tried to stay very conservative with him early and see how things would go, in particular the first couple of days. Today, he did most of practice."

On whether Donovan experienced any swelling or discomfort:
"Really, he didn't, other than maybe a little bit of fatigue as practice would go on, after the third day. There wasn't anything where he was in any discomfort, just your normal fatigue."

On whether the date that Donovan began practicing (6/11) was marked on the calendar:
"We were hoping to get him out in this last week, before we went to training camp, to give him an opportunity. But, we weren't going to force anything. If he wasn't ready to go we weren't going to put him out there. But, he's worked so hard to keep himself this far ahead of schedule, and we felt comfortable with it. Again, we were on the conservative side. Once he got there, he wanted to do every rep and that wouldn't have been the right thing."

On whether Donovan will be ready to go on the first day of camp and if he will be handled any differently:
"I think he'll be ready. The way it looks right now, unless there's a set back [he'll be able to practice].I'll probably start off conservative with him and gradually work him into where he can take the practice."

On the importance of getting Donovan out on the field before camp, physically, and just to be a part of everything:
"He knows the offense so well that that's not the issue. It's a matter of him taking the next step with his leg. And, now he can actually get out there with the team. So from that standpoint I think it was good."

On the physical signs that Donovan shows that he is not performing at 100%:
"The obvious one is soreness. If his leg is sore, we back off. Also, we won't put him in any bad position, where he can make all the different throws we ask him to. That means the boot leg and play action play. If he's limping around in those, then we back off a little bit, and rest him, and come back and try it again."

On monitoring McNabb's work in Arizona and whether he will come back to Philadelphia to get checked out:
"He and Rick will stay in very close contact with that. Rick knows exactly what Don's doing, and Don's very open about that. The main thing is just open communication."

On whether Reid has targeted a preseason game for Donovan to be ready for:
"I'm not too worried about that. I'm not too worried about if he's ready for the opening preseason game, or if he plays in that game."

Any game?
"He'll need to get a couple of the preseason games in, but I'm not going to say how much or anything like that. He'll need to get in and he'll want to get in, just to get out on the playing field."

On whether McNabb will want to go too fast and Reid will have to hold him back:
"That's his nature, he loves to play and compete. Once he gets out there, his juices get going and that's the way you want it. That's a good thing. I'd rather be the one having to do it then having to push him out there. He wants to go and he wants to compete, and when his juices get going he wants to compete every snap."

On whether McNabb needed to practice this week for his own confidence or just for himself:
"There are a couple things. [One] he felt comfortable going out there and doing it. And, two, we - and Rick - have talked about this before, have seen greater dividends for the season if you are able to get out in this camp and just do it, whether it's a couple days or a week like Donovan did. It pays off once you get into training camp."

On whether the coaches are going to monitor McNabb's mechanics and make sure he doesn't favor one thing over another:
"We keep an eye on that. We make sure we're not putting him in a bad position, and he can handle the throws we're giving him. Right now, he's doing everything. So, there wasn't much handling going on from that standpoint. But, you do catch yourself making sure you can check it out and you test it first in your individual drills before you put him in a team activity."

On whether the burden is lifted off by having McNabb at practice:
"Yeah, you guys saw the tempo picks up and guys were excited to have him out there. He's a big part of this football team. So, to have him back in the mix and for guys to see that he's healthy and all the hard work they've seen him do in training room now correlates with his performance on the field picks up the practice."

On whether there is a burden with not giving McNabb too much too soon:
"Yeah, that's what I was saying. I'll keep an eye on that and that's my responsibility. We've got a great trainer and a good doctor. We'll all keep an eye on him. And, Donovan understands that there's going to be times when we back down just a little bit when we see something."

On what approach he will take with [TE] L.J. Smith at camp:
"We'll see how he does, initially, and see how he feels. Again, we have a few weeks until training camp. We'll gradually bring him back in there and we wouldn't want to do anything that wouldn't be smart."

On [FS] Brian Dawkins and if he is coming to training camp for the duration:
"Yeah, I think he will be there. Unless something changes in his situation."

On whether he will bring in contributing players during the summer:
"Tom's [Heckert] going to keep his eyes open for those things. And, if there's a player that makes us a little bit better, we'll always entertain that. Not just to bring a guy in to bring a guy in, but if we feel like there's someone out there to help us out and to make us a better team than we are at the present moment, then sure."

On whether McNabb's next big test is when he has contact:
"I'm not too worried about that. That's not going to happen until possibly a preseason game. I think if you worry too much about that, you're going to have problems. By that time you've got to have confidence that everything's going to be okay and play."

On whether it's McNabb's nature to turn the page and move on from his injury:
"I think he's been great at that. I think that's one of his strengths, if he works like crazy to get himself back and goes and plays. You don't see him favor a thing."

On what rookies, in particular, impressed Reid the most:
"It's not fair, necessarily, to pick one out. I was impressed by that class, the rookie class and some of the college free agents that we signed. I think they've created some competition for positions there, and that's what you try to do."

On whether the exhibition games will mean more this year regarding the defense:
"At that position, yes, it will be tough competition. It will be hard for the coaches to make that decision. I'm sure, unless we have a bunch of injuries, there could be some tough decisions to make and that's a good thing. You want to make sure that players play hard and coaches evaluate players on a daily basis."

On what feeling Reid has about this team as the end of OTA's wrap up:
"You have a good idea. I think what takes place up at Lehigh is you build a little more personality. You get into that second week and beating each other up a little bit you realize who the guys are that are going to step up at that time. Your body, nor mind, isn't feeling quite as good as it did at the beginning, so, that's where I have a better idea."

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