ML: “Working as a club, we have to move forward and get ready for the Eagles. It’s a quick turnaround, and that’s probably a good thing for us. We need to improve fundamentally on the things we’re doing. Some of those little things, the details of our work, ended up putting us in the position to lose the football game yesterday. We did a lot of really good things, but you have to win on third down, you have to make catches, you can’t lose on defense on third down. The few penalties we had, a couple of them cost us. Those are the things we’ve got to improve on. It’s good that we get to move forward right away and get focused on that.
“As far as the Eagles, with making the change at quarterback, Nick Foles has come in and been productive with what they’re doing. He has four touchdown passes, three interceptions, and is completing about 60 percent of his passes. But the thing that he’s doing is giving them the opportunity to move the ball consistently. They’ve gotten great play from the rookie running back (Bryce Brown). He has fumbled the ball a few times. He didn’t have as much yardage last week against Tampa, but his first couple outings, boy, he was going great guns. He’s very quick to the hole, very fast when he got to the perimeter. He’s made some strong, make-people-miss, inside-the-hole runs. Their receivers, with DeSean (Jackson) being out for the year, (Jeremy) Maclin and (Jason) Avant are the two starters, with Riley Cooper coming in. We don’t know what it will be at tight end, with (Brent) Celek getting a concussion yesterday early in the game. It’s a physical group of receivers – bigger-stature guys. You’ve got to really play in the proper leverage. They’ll fight you for the football. Their guys are aggressive to the ball at the catch.
“Defensively, I think Trent Cole is one of the better defensive ends in the National Football League. He comes to play every week, plays extremely hard, and you have to always be conscious and always be accountable for him. They’re explosive up-front in their D-line. Much has been made about all change they have done, but I thought they played really good football yesterday against Tampa. Their linebackers are athletic, they flow to the ball well, they’re good players, they can shed. They have two good corners on the outside and a young, good safety inside. It’s a well-put-together football team that obviously is not happy with where they are in their season. They kind of righted the ship a bit yesterday. We have to go play error-free football to win over in Philly on Thursday night.”
Philadelphia’s big issue seems to be turnovers, as they have a minus-19 differential. You mentioned that they’ve started to right the ship. Do you think they’ve protected the football a little better as well?
ML: “Fumbles have been a big part. There have been 17 fumbles and 12 interceptions they’ve lost. You have to possess the football. I stand here before you twice a week and talk about that it seems like. You can’t turn the football over and win many games.
From what you saw in the Tampa Bay game, is the defensive line still doing that nine-wide?
ML: “Too much has been made of it. When the situation calls for them to get wide and go, they’ll get wide and go. But they’ve tightened it up a little bit. That’s what they’re looking to do. It helps protect their linebackers a little bit more. I think you can see the cohesion of what they’re doing is fitting together a little better.”
They threw it 51 times against Tampa, who is last in the league against the pass. Do you expect them to be a little more balanced against you?
ML: “I think we’ll see a game will start out with nakeds and boots and screens and things that way. Things that we seem to get each and every week. You know, the ball out quick and so forth. We have to be conscious of that that. We’ll get some perimeter screens, whether it be to the wide receiver, whether it be off of action, flow screens, four-strong screens. We’ll get some nakeds, some things that, some quarterback-movement type plays.”
How much have they changed with (Todd) Bowles as defensive coordinator?
ML: “I didn’t spent a lot of time yet going back and looking at what they were doing earlier in the year, other than what I looked at during our bye week. They’ve rounded into what they’re going to play and do, and he’s using the athletic ability of their guys back there well.”
What about Fletcher Cox, the rookie they traded up to get?
ML: “He’s doing a good job. I think he has two or three sacks right now (actual total is four). He’s a big, impressive, good-looking guy. I’m sure it’s been an adjustment for him because there’s been a little bit of a change in coaching techniques and styles. For Trent Cole, he’s done both. I’m sure it’s not a big deal for their veteran players.”
Talk about their offensive line:
ML: “Howard (Mudd) has been there the last couple of years. He’s obviously a very fine coach and understands what he wants to do and fits with their offense. It’s important again that we take care of business on our offensive line and our defensive line against our opponents each and every week. We have to go a good job against this group just like I said last week against the Cowboys.”
Injury-wise, how are you? It looked like
ML: “He’ll be OK. We’re better than we were.”
Do you think you can get back some of the players that were injured last week?
ML: “We’re better than we were.”
There is a short turnaround this week, but is the mini-bye week that follows a timely thing for feeling out how some of the injured guys are doing?
ML: “We just have to go with what’s scheduled. It’s an important football game for us. We’ve got to make sure we get all of our marbles in the right direction, put them in our pockets and go and win this game. With everything we do, we’ve got to have a great attention to detail over these next four days. Then, we’re going to tee it up and have at it.
Our guys had to turn the clock forward very quickly and forget about yesterday. Yesterday was disappointing to all of us. But we don’t have a chance to mope around about it. I had to get the coaches to move forward, too. I think we have a good plan in place for what we’re going to do this Thursday night. Our players have to begin the understanding of it this afternoon. We’ll get a good installation this evening, then come back and continue on things tomorrow.”
Is this practice tonight going to be more of a walk-through? How would describe how you’ll handle it?
ML: “I don’t know. I’m not going to describe it.”
ML: “He did some good things. He did some things that show he hadn’t played real football. We’ll see how things go as we move forward.”
On the last offensive drive yesterday, you were up two points and time was running down in the fourth quarter. Why not run it more?
ML: “If we run it and don’t make a first down, then you’re going to tell me, ‘Why didn’t you throw it?’ We’re just trying to do what we can do to make a first down and keep the clock going and get more points. The goal was to try to score when you got the ball on offense. We had one incompletion in the thing, and now you can sit back and say that we had an incompletion. Had we completed the balls and gone forward, then we get a first down and we’re good. If we run it and don’t get the first down, we maybe take 40 seconds off the clock, but we don’t get the first down. You’ve got to make play calls to do what you think you can do to execute at that particular point in time.”
You guys ran the ball pretty well yesterday:
ML: “We ran the ball pretty well for the most part all day long, yes.”
Hindsight is always 20/20, but:
ML: “In hindsight, we would have never kicked a field goal (laughs).”
Would you have liked to have given
ML: “If it worked out that way. Brian (Leonard) had a few series and was in there. He had his carries. The first (offensive) drive down the field went down the field pretty quickly with the big plays. It is what it was. You’d do a lot of things differently to win a football game, when you don’t win one.”
You waived Armon Binns on Saturday. Because he was likely going to be inactive, was that a matter shaping the 46-player active gameday roster?
Do you hope to possibly get him back, once your kicker situation resolves itself?
ML: “Yes we are. We’d love to have Armon back, hopefully. We’ll see what happens with him today (Binns was later claimed by Miami).”
You’re exposing him to waivers. Is that a danger for a young, inexperienced, but talented player like him?
ML: “Yeah, unfortunately it’s a danger. We’re sitting here with these little nuggets of draft picks sitting there on the inactive list as well. It’s a hard call each and every time we have to waive somebody like that in order to add a player. It’s a very difficult thing. It would have been maybe more of a smooth process had Nuge (K
“It’s part of what an NFL team does all the time. Knock on wood, we're sitting here pretty fortunate where we are health-wise, where we are as a football team, where we are in the season. We have the opportunity to still control our own end, from now until the end. We still have an opportunity to win the division. We still have an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs a couple of ways. That's all we can ask for. We let a huge opportunity get away, based upon what happened with a couple other clubs yesterday, and that's the shame of it. We had a lead, and we didn't protect the lead very well on offense, nor defense. That's what's disappointing. So we've learned from it. Hopefully we'll get other opportunities this season, a chance for at least six more maybe, that we can learn from that and that would be great history for us. We'll do it better next time. So that's all we can hope for, a chance to rewrite that history.”
ML: “We have to be pleased with it. But we sat here and for two weeks, we weren't as pleased as we wanted to be. And we can't relax. We've set a pretty high standard over there, and we can't relax that because it ended up contributing to two losses we've had. So we have to keep going and keep pressing forward. We had a couple new guys out there playing yesterday, and they answered the bell. They made a couple of plays. We just have to keep going. We had another one of those nuggets out there playing yesterday in Danny Herron. He has a chance, gets a hand on a punt, he makes some good blocks back there as a kickoff returner. So those are good things. He was kind of the last one (of the draft class) not to have a chance to contribute this year. All those guys have passed the same test getting this far, and now he got his real test on an NFL game and he was up to the challenge. He did the things that he's shown Darrin (special teams coach Darrin Simmons) and I in practice for the last 16-17 weeks that we've been practicing. He's shown us that in practice, and he went out there and he did it.”
Is he a ‘nuts and bolts’ guy?
ML: “He doesn't have any time on task to be a nuts and bolts guy.”
When you think of the job the ‘nuts and bolts’ guys on this team have done, is that one of the things you’re most pleased with about this team?
ML: “We have the Vinny Reys, the (Dan) Skutas, (Cedric) Peermans, Brian Leonards, (Jeromy) Miles. And
You mentioned earlier that you need to move on quickly. Do you emphasize that message to the team as well?
ML: “We would have had the same message if we wouldn't have lost yesterday. So that didn't have to change.”