POSTED: Monday January 5th 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COACH TOM COUGHLIN

CONFERENCE CALL - January 5, 2009

Philadelphia has played very well, very good football.  They are actually 5-1 since Baltimore.  They have done an outstanding job of complimenting special teams, offense and defense.  They are getting, as you know, big plays off of the special teams.  They are taking good care of the ball.  The screen was obviously the big play yesterday, which really got them going.  Their defense has been very stingy; (it is) really very, very difficult to see any continuity in terms of offensive drives (against them).  So they are playing very well and they went on the road and advanced in a very difficult place to play.  And so we are excited about coming back together this week and getting ready to play a team that is playing well.


Q:  What is the schedule for the players this week?  Will you give them anything Eagles related today?


A:  Yes, we have been downstairs.  Players are in today.  They have their conditioning program.  They have their strength program and obviously the medical program.  And the Philadelphia tape is in each room with a study guide for them; something which they can follow.  And that will be the same way tomorrow.  And then we will go to work and have a normal work week on Wednesday morning. 

Q:  What is the health situation for your players?  Specifically Jacobs and Robbins – how are they doing?


A:  They seem to be doing okay.  I am not going to say what their status will be on Wednesday.  We will take full advantage of today and tomorrow to get ourselves closer to that.  But hopefully we can work even if it is in a limited basis.  But we will see.

Q:  How would it be to say that when the Eagles beat you guys at the Meadowlands about a month or so ago that your team was really not anywhere near its best?

A: I don’t know about that.  I wouldn’t say that.  I think we missed opportunities.  We missed three fourth-downs that would have made, I think, a difference in the game; a fourth-and-four, and fourth-and-three, and a fourth-and-one.  We had some opportunities we really didn’t take advantage of much.  It was almost like a reversal of the first game over in Philadelphia where the scores weren’t – it wasn’t necessarily a high scoring game but time of possession was quite imbalanced.  When we were over there it was in our favor.  When Philadelphia was here it was in their favor.  We had some outstanding rushing stats over there.  They had some over here.  So it was a game that was, as usual, a very, very physical game – as it always is.  We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had.

Q:  I guess what I am kind of asking is do you think that there was a two or three game stretch there where you feel your team may have been mentally and physically beat up and exhausted and that they hit a wall.  And that now perhaps over the course of the last couple of weeks, and especially with the bye, that you may have your……?”


A:  You are not going to put any words in my mouth.  That wouldn’t be any way in which I would describe it.  Week in and week out we have had very, very difficult opponents to play against.  And in this particular day over here we didn’t do the things which we had to.  But you can’t take anything away from the way they played.

Q:  In that second game Brian Westbrook obviously had a very big game.  What does it take to try to at least slow him down?


A:  Well, you see, it is the same question every time.  He is a guy on everyone’s list in terms of what you have to do to try to prevent him from getting the ball in the end zone.  You saw Minnesota do a pretty good job against them in the run game, but he broke out with the 71-yard screen.  He is an excellent pass receiver.  He had the situation here where we were in coverage that we would love to be able to change and not have that be the case.  But he caught a short pass out of the backfield and converted it into a big-play touchdown.  So you have to be very, very aware, certainly, of all the different alignment positions that he is in; the ways in which he can beat you.  He picked up a couple of key blocks yesterday when he was on his way. He made the rest happen by his speed and his ability to maneuver.  So he is a guy that you have got to try to do everything that you can.  However, as you notice there are many playmakers out there – Jackson, Curtis.  There are a lot of guys that made many, many plays and helped yesterday.  So an awareness of where Westbrook is and trying to do a good job of being in position to get many people around and be a part of the tackling because he is so good at breaking tackles; the individual one-tackler type thing.  And he is able because he is strong and he has a good straight arm and that type of thing to break tackles.  So you have to have a lot of people arrive on the spot.

Q:  The perception after that second game by many people was that Antonio Pierce was exploited by Westbrook.  But it looked like it was a check down on his touchdown pass and a lot of guys were at the line on the touchdown run.  So is it fair to kind of point the finger at him?


A:  No, because we took the blame for that by the virtue of the coverage we were in.  We said that right after the game.  I believe that really was a – if you knew that that was the attempt to isolate, then you certainly wouldn’t have been in that coverage.

Q:  For 100 years coaches have been saying that it all starts and ends with the play of the two lines.  How would you compare the Eagles’ offensive line with others you have played this year?


A:  Well there are a massive group of young men.  And they are a strong, physical outfit that…if you noticed from probably our game on, they really have done a good job of at least attempting to balance their run and pass stats.  And that way they have been able to keep people really off balance.  And I think they did the same thing yesterday.  So it is a very good offensive line.

Q:  Plaxico has had some big games against the Eagles.  That is just the way they play with the blitzing and everything.  How important is it for the rest of your receivers to step up for this game?

A:  They have to make plays, there is no doubt.  If in fact it is going to be single coverage and multiple people are going to be involved in coming down, which you saw against Minnesota, you see against most teams by virtue of formation, if nothing else the attempt to get more people down, then we have got to be able to make some plays on the outside to keep delicate balance in terms of what we do.

Q:  Have you spoken with Coach Spagnuolo about his interviews over this weekend?  Do you think it would be any type of distraction?

A: No, it won’t be a distraction.  I have talked to him.  He has tried to keep me posted but there isn’t any doubt in my mind that his focus is right here preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Last week was a League-wide opportunity for anybody who was in the bye week and a couple of days were set aside for this according to those rules.  And they did not interfere with anything that we are doing here.  And he, as always, is very much focused on the job at hand.

Q: You talked so much last year about how important momentum was and in getting hot at the right time.  Is there any concern with the fact that the Eagles come in having won five of six while your team – although they feel good about themselves – lost three of the four?

A:  Anytime you lose you are upset and anytime you win you feel pretty good about it.  But it never stops your ability to try to improve, to make corrections, to get your team individually and as a group playing better.  And that is the thing that we have been focusing on.  So that is what is most important to me.  The regular season is over, whatever the numbers might be.  We have been cast into a situation where we had the bye.  You heard me say that I thought the bye was good for our team.  I don’t know that I would necessarily say that every year.  In this case, I thought it was.  And so therefore we worked, we studied, and had an opportunity to have a weekend without a game and now we are back to work.


Q:  Do you think that Carolina game—the first half of Minnesota – was enough to kind of get them back to playing the way they want to be playing at this time of year?

A:  I certainly think that the Carolina game was.  I think there were some missed opportunities against Minnesota that we have talked about for a week.  And the players have heard that over and over.  And quite frankly they have heard it enough.  It is time to do what we believe in, which is we have to go play the game; talk is cheap, play the game.

Q:  Anybody not practicing in any way shape or form?

A:  I said I’m not sure about that until Wednesday.  We still have a couple of guys that will be potentially limited or maybe out, depending on what the medical people tell me.  So we won’t know that until Wednesday.


Q:  Who are the guys?

A:  I’m not going to say because I’m not sure exactly who they are.

 

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