Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb quotes during a conference call with Houston media Wednesday morning.
Head coach Andy Reid
(on how he prepares for a team with a new coach and a new look) "Well, number one, (Texans Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) is doing a phenomenal job down there. He's only been there a short period of time, and those guys, they play their hearts out. They're coming out of the preseason 3-1, and it's well deserved. The young guys, they know what they are doing. From a coaching standpoint you look for things, and those kids know exactly what they're doing, and they are executing. With that, anything is possible the first game. I'm sure they feel the same way about our team. You can sit there, you have a lot of time to prepare for the first game, and anything is possible."
(on how it is having fewer distractions this season) "Well, it's a little different from a coaching standpoint, because, first of all, it's your responsibility. There's always going to be issues, and you kind of deal with them. When you hear that washing machine going round and round, you don't think too much about it, you just try to get things worked out. I will say this, this team, I appreciated the way they came out and they practiced during mini camps, and they took the same attitude into training camp. I have appreciated that. They worked their tails off, and I wish them nothing but the best."
(on what the team environment is like for him compared to last season) "Well, the environment is good here. Like I said, I don't let all that stuff get in the way. I just go forward. I'm very fortunate to be a coach in the National Football League, so I know you're going to run into a few bumps in the road. You work through them and stay positive, and you move forward. Right now everything is fine."
(on what QB Donovan McNabb means to the offense and the team) "Well, he's a big person, number one, and a great football player, number two. He means a lot to us, this football team and organization. All the players, really since his rookie year, have looked at him as a leader. I remember hearing (DB) Troy Vincent say, 'Hey, we'll go as far as Donovan McNabb takes us.' So that's quite a burden to be holding when you're a rookie, but he turns all that into a positive. He knows he has to prepare himself right, and he does it, and he always does it with a smile on his face. He's a very upbeat guy."
(on why WR Jabar Gaffney was cut) "I really liked Jabar Gaffney. It was just a matter of him getting used to this system and the time involved and so on. But Jabar Gaffney can play football; it just didn't work out for him here. It's going to work out for him somewhere. He sure is a fine person, I'll tell you."
(on whether he was surprised to acquire WR Donte' Stallworth) "Well, it was sort of a trade that we were able to get him. They were willing to make the trade. They had some interest in our player, and we had some interest in their player, and it worked out. Was I surprised? Well, obviously they have confidence in a couple other guys down there that they think can fill in Donte's shoes. From our side, we're sure glad to have him. I can't say I know him very well, but what I do know, I like. He's worked double-time here to get himself ready to play."
(on whether Stallworth is ready to play opening day) "The only reason I tell you he is, is because he's been in this offense before. So it wasn't that he had to learn the terminology, it was more just a brushing up on it. It was like French, but just learning a different dialect."
(on how adding DE Darren Howard and DT Brodrick Bunkley affects the defensive line) "Well, we'll see. They have done a nice job here in the preseason. We'll see how it all works out during the season. They both have good attitudes and they work very hard."
(on whether opening day feels different than other weeks) "You know, as a coach and as a player you get fired up for every game, but there is just a little more excitement for the first one than the others. They are all exciting. They are all very exciting. You still walk around with same feeling in your stomach until you get there, but (for) the first one there is just a little more anticipation. I don't think anybody knows exactly what they are as a football team. You get a chance to see. Nobody plays their guys a full game in the preseason. You get a chance to see the guys play a full game."
(on how nervous he was before his fist game as an NFL head coach) "You know what, I was okay. Believe it or not, I was okay. I've always tried to not get too high or too low. It worked out okay, at least I thought it worked out okay, because that first year we sure didn't do too well. For about for or five games there we couldn't do too much, and we didn't look real pretty. But to answer your question, I don't remember being a basket case."
(on whether he thinks the NFC East is the toughest division this year) "There are a lot of pretty good teams in the NFL right now, in the NFC and the AFC. I would say today it looks to be strong. There are going to be four descent teams in the NFC East."
(on how he thinks the Eagles will finish in their division) "Well, you know, they're pretty good. We're just going to do our best and take it play-by-play and see what happens. We're not too much into predicting. We never have been, and I don't want to start today. As much as I like you guys, I don't plan on starting today. We'll just take it play-by-play and game-by-game and we'll see what happens. We'll see what we do."
(on whether old Denver Broncos film is helpful in preparing for the Texans) "I think you have to do that. They had so much success there, and (Coach) Gary (Kubiak) is so familiar with the offense. A lot of that, he had the opportunity to create. So I wouldn't see him changing it from something that was so good. I'm sure he'll put a wrinkle in it here or there, but you know he had a big part of making that work up there. I don't know why he would change it."
(on whether he has ever had a defense give up the number of yards they gave up to Denver last year) "I can't remember exactly how many yards we gave up, but it was too many to win the game, I know that, and we didn't score enough points. It seemed like that did a pretty good job against us, as a matter of fact, a real good job."
(on Denver having 564 yards in that game) "That's too many."
QB Donovan McNabb
(on handling last season without blowing up) "Not at all (blowing up). I think on situations like that the best way of handling it is being yourself professionally to make sure that the people around you understand that although they may be some adversity or distraction, it doesn't take you away from your goals and what you set out to accomplish. Also, being a leader in the team, I think it was important that I became in tuned of everything that was going on ahead of us. Being prepared going into each game, making sure the guys understood that we're all in this thing together. That stuff never affected me. And the message, I think, that was sent (was) although it just continued on with what was going on, but I just continued to stay level headed with everything."
(on being able to go to a championship game this season) "I have the full confidence that we do. I think we're a talented bunch over here. I think, obviously, the questions are how the players that we have are going to (play) key roles. After mini-camp, after working well together throughout the off season, training camps, preseason, we have that confidence that if we continue to grow together. It's going to take some time, nothing happens overnight, but we know in time we'll continue to improve and progress from the offense and defensive sides. Good things can happen for us."
(on preparing for Texans' new defense) "When you look at the things (Texans) have been able to do over there, they're trying to put their players in great positions to be successful. And you see it on film, throughout the preseason of just the progression. You see Mario (Williams) beginning to get comfortable. You see (DeMeco) Ryans stepping in there and being a big leader, feeling himself in the position. Marlon Greenwood, a guy that I played with in Syracuse , very intelligent. He likes to fly around, they're putting him in great positions to challenge tight ends, and running backs, and blitz. I think the guy that is beginning to grow and get well known in the NFL is Dunta Robinson. A guy who they feel can challenge anyone's number one receiver. You have a guy like that and you can do a lot of things in the secondary. It's going to be an exciting game. I think they're seeing that (the defense) they're putting together and the defensive schemes they're coming up with are best suited for those particular athletes that they have in those positions."
(on WR Donte' Stallworth) "I think when you look at a guy like Donte it adds a little bit of firepower to the offensive side. A guy who has the ability to make a play when the ball is in his hands. A guy that can stretch the field and also a guys who is underrated in his blocking. We're excited to have him over here and I think the rest of the receiving corps is excited to have him. But most importantly we want to make sure he's comfortable in everything that we're doing. We spread the ball around a lot over here. This isn't an offense that you come out with 100 catches or 90 catches or so. This is an offense where we try to get everyone involved and if the opportunity is there to make a play for it."
(on this season's camp differences) "This camp has been exciting. I'm a guy who loves challenges. I'm a guy who loves competing and when you can compete and go out to get better each day without having to worry about any of the outside problems, it makes things better. It makes a better working environment. It makes the confidence continue to grow throughout the locker room. Guys beginning to push each other and good things happen and I think the good thing for us is we didn't have to worry about any of that. We focused in on whatever we needed to do this year, prepare ourselves for it and look forward to this opportunity."
(on Eagles' ideal pass/run ratio) "West coast offense is 60/40. I think teams like to say 50/50, but is that really true? I don't think so. In a West Coast offense I think it's 60/40 and that sets up a lot of different things that we're able to do with in the West Coast offense with play action, being able to run the ball, setting up screens, getting the ball down field, intermediate passing game and things of that nature. I would probably say that is the ideal percentage."
(on Brian Westbrook) "He's truly valuable. A guy that I put him in a class with LaDaininan Tomlinson, with Tiki Barber. A guy that can do much more than just run the ball between the tackles. He's a threat if he lines up in the backfield, if he lines up against the receiver position, if you put him in motion he becomes a problem because he can identify that and come back with schemes to try to use the double or put their best corner on them. He's been known to get open versus cornerbacks, safeties, linebackers or whoever you put out on him. A guy that's very important in our offense and we feel confident when he gets the opportunity of getting the ball that he can make a big play for us."
(on NFC East teams) "In the NFC East, the AFC, no matter who it is any given Sunday anything can happen. I think when you look at our division, although people are still questioning what we have over here due to what happened last year, I think people still understand that this is a wide open division. It doesn't matter what you did last year or the year before. It's kind of a "what have you done for me lately" kind of a league because you can go undefeated last year but this year you can only win six games. It's a lot of different things that happen and I think you have to treat the one game at a time approach every time and that's got to be your mindset."
(on possibility for any team to dominate NFC East) "Anything can happen. I think for a team to kind of be on a roll any give time, a team to come in 3-0 or 4-0 with full confidence, everything's clicking good things can happen. They can get a winning streak, they can get a losing streak, they can be up and down. It's going to be interesting this year to see how the NFC East pans out."
(on physical or atmosphere differences) "I would say the way I feel physically. Even with everything that was going on, I wasn't affected. When you have injuries and you're eliminated from some of the things that you've been able to do that's what begins to pull you away from your abilities. I'm healthy. All of us are healthy. That's a good thing for us, because what happened last year wasn't all on just the dark cloud that we had on us. It was a lot of injuries that we had, guys rotating in and out who didn't have the experience of playing at that particular time. It's good to see that we're all healthy and we're all ready to go."