Opening comments: ML:
On the injury front, we basically remain about the same. We should have the services of everybody except for Carson (Palmer) and probably the two young receivers, Andre (Caldwell) and Jerome (Simpson). Everybody else should be up and ready to go. And I think those two kids are both pretty close to being able to play again, which is good. They should be back to practicing at some point next week, I hope.
Q: The players have said for weeks all they need is a win, and they'll start rolling. Is this the week to prove it?ML:
I would think that answers your own question, right? That's a chance to prove it. You've got to go put the work in, the preparation, and go get the execution and make the plays on Sunday that will bear that out. That's important. The first step is obviously the preparation, and then going out on Sunday and executing and making the plays to win the football game.
Q: What do you like about Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter (of the Eagles)?ML:
They're not on my club right now, so I don't like a lot about either of them (laughs). They're pretty good players. Westbrook is probably as fine a runner and receiver together as there is in the league. His running skills sometimes get underappreciated because of all the things he does with the football as a receiver. But he's a fine runner, a strong runner, a great cut runner, and they've got a great complement in Buckhalter, who does very similar things. So they're two very fine backs in their backfield.
Q: Last week, Carson Palmer said he was close to deciding what to do for the rest of the season. Is he any closer to a resolution?ML:
No. As I said the last time we talked, he's following the time frame that he's been given by the doctors of what to do with the rehab, allowing it to continue to heal so that it doesn't become an issue that ever flares up ever again.
Q: Are you still hopeful he'll play this season?ML:
Yeah. He still wants the opportunity to play, or we would not keep him on the 53-man roster.
Q: What do you like about the Philadelphia defense?ML:
They do a lot of things, pressure-wise. It's similar to what the Bears did in the Buddy Ryan days, and sometimes there are some holes that are open. But you have to be able to find them. And they're going to bring people to try to overload your protection. Sometimes in a little bit of an unorthodox way, but they're very effective. They've been effective with it for a while. The guys understand their scheme and they try and get after you. When they do blitz, they come. They're effective with their safeties, which provides a different element. Their secondary guys, when they blitz, are very effective at beating a back in the protection.
Q: What all has to happen for the downfield passing game to work?ML:
Number one, in those situations, your play has got to match coverage. You've got to be in a situation where if you are getting a pressure, your protection is such that you can hold onto the football to get it down the field. And then the execution of the route and the catch. It's a four-part thing, but let's not make this too complicated. The more times you throw it out there, the more opportunity you have. And I think that's important for us as well. To not limit ourselves for fear of this or fear of that. Sometimes it's not going to quite match up, and the ball's going to go somewhere else. Sometimes it will match up.
Q: You've been a fan of the deep ball, and have said that a defense can't stop it:ML:
You can stop it, but as a defensive coach, that's the one thing you're always fearful of - the ball going over your head. That's a scary feeling.
Q: Is that why safeties are playing deep?ML:
It just depends on the coverage. When you go into an NFL game, you're probably going to see a third down against three wide receiver sets, seven or eight different coverages in the course of a game, let alone the pressures. There's a lot of pressures that are different than 3-4 years ago. There's been a whole evolution of different pressures now into coverages that match up with those pressures. Sometimes safeties are inverted and corners are deep. So it's a matter of diagnosing the entire thing and then putting it out there and letting it rip.
Q: Trent Cole is from the University of Cincinnati and the Dayton area. Have you seen him on film? If so, what do you think about him?ML:
Fine player. We've seen him since he was in college. He was a player that we had a lot of affection for prior to the draft. Obviously we didn't get an opportunity to draft him, and they (the Eagles) did, and he's turned out to be the player that I think everybody in this building thought he would be. He's a great kid. Really enjoyed the time we spent with him prior to the draft.
Q: Talk about your pass protection. Is it getting better?ML:
What you did for us last week really doesn't matter much. This is a new week. A new challenge. We're going to have to get them blocked up front because we know they're going to get off the bus coming at us. I will bet that we protect better than we did around here against the Steelers, where we didn't protect very well. That's going to be important.
Q: How much has it helped the line to have played more with Ryan (Fitzpatrick) back there?ML:
It's important for Ryan to be in the right spots and right depths. That's what helps that whole unit. Everyone has to work in concert. So we've got to make sure that he's at the right depths. The more he plays, the more confident people are around him, and he has to be confident that things are going to hold up the way he expects them to hold up. It all works in conjunction.