Behind Enemy Lines: Eagles Q&As

Andy Reid and Michael Vick spoke about how to improve in Week 2 after narrowly escaping a Week 1 win over Cleveland.

Head Coach Andy Reid

On if coaches worry about the durability of smaller running backs like Ray Rice and Brian Westbrook: "I don't know how to answer [that]. If you're talking about Brian Westbrook, then Brian had a whole lot of carries, and he set a lot of franchise records. So, I'm not sure how to answer that. We didn't really concern ourselves with that part of it, and I don't think John [Harbaugh] necessarily does. Ray wants the ball. He's a great player that wants the football, and I understand that."

On whether he was happy with the pass-to-run ratio the team had against Cleveland: "Yeah, after I evaluated it I was. We had a lot of plays, is what we had. It looked a little skewed, but once you actually look at the total number of plays, I think the balance was pretty good. We put ourselves in some bad situations with penalties, where we had to throw to get out of them, and that kind of upped the number a little bit. But once you evaluate it and kind of study it, it wasn't bad."

On whether he anticipates giving RB LeSean McCoy his fair share of carries this weekend: "We're going to do what we do. We'll evaluate, obviously the games, and their defense, and then we'll come up with – we're in the middle of it – coming up with a game plan to see what we can do there."

On how correctable the turnovers against Cleveland appear to be after watching the tape: "We obviously can't have that many turnovers, and the quarterback, he obviously is the one that's under the gun there a little bit with it. But we all take responsibility for it – coaches and players – and the bottom line is we just have to do a better job and do just what you said. We've got to correct them – they are correctable – and we've got to take care of that."

On the changes the Ravens have made on offense: "I think they are doing some very good stuff. I think [QBs coach] jim caldwell coming in there added another dimension to an already great offensive coordinator in Cam [Cameron]. I think they've got a good combination of things that they are doing. The most important thing is that the quarterback is playing well."

  On if he sees the Ravens' offense doing different things than they've done in past years: "It's probably stating the obvious, but I'll tell you yeah, just from them doing a no-huddle offense where he is making checks at the line and doing things there that maybe he hasn't done before, or at least the percentage that he's doing it now."

  On what he is seeing from Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees: "It looks like he has just kind of picked up and done what they've done there for so many years, and that is play great defense. I don't see any difference, really. They were one of the top defenses in the National Football League last year, and they played that way the other night, so I don't see any drop-off for sure. They are just playing at a pretty high level."

  On if the Ravens' offense is doing more schemes to catch defenses off guard: "[Joe Flacco] is working the clock well, so he is doing some things there to get your defense committed to certain things and putting on the plays that work versus that look. So, he is doing a good job with that."

  On what he saw from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh when he was on staff in Philadelphia in terms of leadership and coaching ability: "He is a great person. He is good with people. He is a hard worker, smart, tough. He has all that, all of the characteristics that you need to be a leader. He was really in a very underrated position being a special teams coach. People don't understand that that coach – [Ravens general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] understood – he deals with as many as what the head coach does as far as getting the whole team together to function as a special teams unit, offensively and defensively. He also had to deal with the media, which adds to the experience. So, I think the special teams coaches around the National Football League are a little underrated, and they don't get considered quite as much for head coaching jobs as maybe the offensive and defensive coordinators."

  On what Eagles LB DeMeco Ryan brings to the table on defense: "DeMeco brings that experience and smarts. You guys know him. He was with the Texans, and you guys have had some knockdown drag-outs with those guys. You know him, and you know him as a player. To add to being a Pro Bowl player, he is also a great person and a good leader."

  On how unusual the defenses and alignments are that are tried against the Eagles because of QB Michael Vick's multidimensional ability: "They get creative. So, we understand that. We've seen a lot of creative things over the years. But listen, he's a great player, and that's what people do. They're going to give you looks, and you have to be able to function, I guess."

  On how he saw the Ravens set the edge defensively without OLBs Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson: "I thought the two new kids … I thought they did a nice job. I have to say they came out and they played. I mean, what can you say about the game? They played very well. I'm not in to comparing people; I don't do that. That's not my job. I just know they are very good football players."

  On if other teams will make adjustments after seeing the no-huddle offense from the Ravens: "Well, I think everybody knew, Cincinnati in the case that we are talking about here, I think they knew they were going to go no-huddle. They did it all during the preseason, so you knew kind of what was going to happen there, as far as at the schemes. It doesn't matter the scheme; it's how you execute it, how you execute. They executed it very well. But listen, that wasn't a secret, I don't think, that they were going to do that. I'm not sure quite how to answer that, other than I think everybody knew they were going to go to the no-huddle, and Jim [Caldwell] was there and they would combine the two and [Flacco] is there between Cam [Cameron] and Jim."

  On what it's like having McCoy in the backfield, with the kind of comfort he provides: "Well, he's a good player, and the fans are going to get to see two Pro Bowl running backs play. From my standpoint, I do have comfort with him back there. He's a good football player."

  On if McCoy is a type of player that will lobby for more touches: "I'm going to tell you what: You show me a running back in this league that doesn't lobby for more touches. They all want more, and that's OK. That's the way you want them as a coach. You want the guys who want the ball every snap. The ones that shy away from it you want to play somewhere else."

  On if it is difficult to game-plan for the Ravens this year compared to 2008: "Again, I'm not here to do that comparison, because they are a heck of a football team then, and they are a heck of football now. So, I mean, we just have to get ourselves ready to play. I'm not … They are a good football team, let me just tell you that."

  QB Michael Vick

  On the adjustments he has made this week, and what he saw from his game last week against Cleveland: "Being self-critical, I was just trying to force too many throws. I tried to make something happen when I felt as if we should have already had more points on the board. I just got impatient and just tried to rush things and just tried to do too much. I started letting balls go that I should never have thrown. So, part of the adjustment is just to continue to make good decisions."

  On if being so dynamic makes deciding what to do with the ball difficult: "Sometimes it can get tough trying to decide what to do at the appropriate time, stay with your progression, when you can pull the ball down and run it. But, it's not that hard. I try to just be instinctive with it and when my mindset goes, I just go. I just think with each and every snap, especially not the last week, you never know when you are going to have a learning experience, and that was definitely a learning experience and something that I can kind of gauge my season off of as far as trying to do the right thing."

  On what defenses try to do to defend him: "Teams pretty much do what they do. They don't change anything. They might put a spy in the middle, rob the coverage every now and then. If they don't play man [coverage], and if it's not one of the things that they do, they won't try to do that. For the most part, teams just line up and play. That's the way I like it; that's the way I want it. If they do put a robber in there, it takes somebody out of pass coverage, so we have to exploit that."

  On if he takes it as a compliment that teams try to do special things to account for him: "Yeah, I do. It's always been that way my entire career, as far as me putting pressure on defenses and making them do things out of the ordinary. But, some teams just don't. They believe in their system, they believe in what they do, and they'll try to beat you that way."

  On if Ravens LB Ray Lewis is still an elite player and what he attributes his long-lasting play to: "Ray is a Hall of Famer. He'll be a Hall of Famer until the day he leaves the game. He'll always be considered that. He is one of the best linebackers ever to play the game. I am honored to have a chance to play against him again. It's going to be fun. It's going to be good game this weekend. It's going to be tough, and it's going to be physical."

  On if he was happy with the run/pass ratio last week against Cleveland, and if he expects a similar ratio moving forward: "I thought it was cool. Our coach does what he thinks is best for the team. If we have to throw the ball, we'll throw it. But, that's not going to be how we play the entire season. We'll be more balanced than that. We may not throw it 56 times ever again this season, but you never know. That's football. I am not the first to do it, and probably won't be the last one to do it this season."

  On how important it is to get Eagles RB LeSean McCoy involved in the game: "It's very important to get LeSean involved, and our coaches understand that. They will do a great job of doing that and getting him involved. They'll put the ball into his hands to try to create some offense for us. LeSean is here to help this football team. We have to do all of the things that are going to help our team."

  On lining up against the Ravens' defense and the first thing he looks for: "You know, I think it all starts with finding Ed Reed, find out where he's at, and he can kind of dictate the coverage. He does a good job disguising and hiding the coverages as far as what they are going to do. But, find him, and just see what they are doing in the secondary, and from there just work your way on down to the linebackers to the defensive front."

  On if opening the season with such a close game was a wake-up: "Yeah, it was. Sometimes you don't want things to transpire the way they do. You don't want it to be as tough, but sometimes games like that happen. What you have to do, and the most important thing is to learn from it and if you don't, it's going to be tough throughout the rest of the season. I think I'll do a better job this week, and as the season goes on and protecting the football and just becoming a better quarterback."

  On being hit 10 or 11 times, and the protection that he was receiving: "Well, you know, the thing that nobody gives Cleveland credit for is how good of a defensive front they have and how good of a defense they have overall. Just from watching the film, I really didn't see anybody beat them by more than 10 to 15 points. They played pretty good. They played good defense, so they have a good defensive line. It was a challenge for us. We knew it was going to be a physical game. We just have to give credit where credit is due. They played a good football game."

  On if the hits he has taken are starting to take a toll on him: "No, I don't think it's taking a toll on me. Monday morning I felt good. I came in and got a workout [in] just to loosen up, just went and played some golf. I felt good. In other words, I feel like I didn't even play a game the night before. My neck was a little sore, but I was OK."

  On if he feels like he is judged unfairly or if the criticism is right on: "I mean, what quarterback doesn't have rough games every now and then? People criticize me a little bit more because I'm different, because I play the game different, which is unfair, but I don't really care. The only thing that matters to me is winning and losing."

  On how proud he is of QB Tyrod Taylor, and if they will talk this week: "Yeah, I talked to Tyrod yesterday. [I was] trying to get some things figured out with the ticket situation, but that's my guy. He's a great kid. He's trying to learn as much as he can, and he's getting better as a quarterback as I watch him."

  On how dangerous he feels his offense can be: "I feel like the sky is the limit. I feel like each and every game we plan on getting better and continue to make strides as the season goes on."

  On remembering facing the Ravens and his first major injury, his broken leg: "Yeah, I remember that."

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