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Andy Reid today: Birds need to do better

Here is what Eagles head coach Andy Reid had to say at today's news conference:

Here is what Eagles head coach Andy Reid had to say at today's news conference:

Opening Remarks:

"There are really no injuries to talk about. We will do exit physicals today; we'll give you an update on those at a later date. Obviously, I'm happy about the way we finished the season. However, I'm definitely not satisfied with the way the season went. Our objective is to be in the playoffs and to win Super Bowls. This year, we're going to have to watch . That's a disappointing fact of the season. There are quite a few things that we need to address this offseason, starting with the coaching and the playing; the personnel side of things. We will attack that after we get the players out of here today and restart on Wednesday. We will cover everything from A to Z."

On the offense:

"There were some good things that did come out of the season, obviously. On offense, the improvement of Donovan , coming off of a serious injury. He made improvement throughout the year. He finished strong, and he'll be able to carry that into the offseason. I was proud of the way he handled himself, on and off the field, this season-like a real pro. Brian Westbrook just had a fantastic season-really the best in Eagles' history and the Eagles have been around a couple years. He did a phenomenal job on the football field. I've mentioned the blocking and the running and the catching, but also his ability to lead the football team. He's evolved into a very good leader. It was good to see some of the young guys have a chance to play on the offensive side. We would have liked to have seen a couple others have a chance to get in there. It didn't work out that way with Kevin and Tony , but they'll have their day and reps will have to wait until later. Again, I thought one of the strengths of the offense, down the stretch, was the offensive line. While we do have a little bit of age at the tackle positions, we finished the season healthy. I know Jon had the concussion, but we finished the season healthy there and had that continuity, which is so important there. We can take that into the offseason."

On the defense:

"Defensively, I though the improvement of the young linebackers can do nothing but help us on the defensive side. I thought it helped us down the stretch. The improvement of the defensive line; I thought they really hit their stretch about six games ago. They really started dominating up front and put the pressure on the quarterbacks. They really did a nice job against runners. I thought Takeo , coming into this system, was able to pick things up fast. He brought in some good senior leadership; he was good for the young guys. He did a nice job there. Bunkley, coming off of the season that he had last year-which was really a zero season-and improving to where he was this year, including the leadership and energy that he brought into the huddle, I thought it meant a lot to our defense. I can bring out stories like J.R. Reed. You need those kind of guys on your football team. Guys that have been though some adversity, have overcome the adversity and cherish every day that they have to play this game. Quintin Mikell is another one. Quintin, by the end of the season, was playing at a Pro Bowl caliber level as a safety. We knew what a great special teams player he was. He became an even better safety."

On the special teams:

"Special teams, I thought we improved as the season went on. What ends up happening is, if you get a couple guys nicked up here and there, those special teams guys become starters. Your special teams, at times, can become weakened. I thought the guys that stepped in battled, they didn't get down on themselves, they improved, and they continued to make plays. Sav Rocca improved. For a guy that's just learning this game he got better every week and did some nice things. Dorenbos came in as kind of a journeyman long snapper where he worked like crazy to get himself into a position where he just signed a nice contract and will be with us for a few years.


So, there were some good things, but that doesn't mask the fact that I'm sitting here way too early for our standards. I don't like it, our team doesn't like it and we're going to go into this offseason wanting to change that so that it doesn't happen again."

On balancing the good finish versus the bad start:

"You analyze the whole situation. As the head coach, as we've gone through the season, I tried to be realistic on the problems that were there. We set a few offensive records, but the fact is that we didn't score enough touchdowns and we didn't score enough points. We have all those nice records, but unless you score points, things don't matter. We'll go through and we'll analyze those things and make sure that we get it taken care of. All the records won't mask the fact that you need to put more points on the board."

On whether there will be any changes to the coaching staff:

"I haven't even gotten into all that yet. It's not a yes or a no, I just haven't been there yet. I will say this, I thought our coordinators did a nice job this year. We'll go back through and analyze all that, but I was proud of their consistency and, when there were problems or we had new players come in, they made the adjustments and they tried to put the players in the best position that they could to perform at the best of their ability."

On whether the coaching staff contributed to the poor season:

"We're sitting here at 8-8. The season's over and we all could have done a better job. We tried to emphasize that throughout the year. That's starts with me. I'm responsible for the 8-8. I've got to do a better job, the coaches have to do a better job and my players have to do a better job. We're going to do that, that's the way we're going to approach the offseason."

On whether the organization's philosophies will have to change:

"You do that every year. Whether you win or you go to the Super Bowl or you're sitting here at 8-8, you go through everything. Normally, your fundamental principles stay intact, but you go through it and you re-evaluate everything."

On getting more help on the defensive line:

"That's a position we'll look at. It's always possible to do a better job; we can do a better job at a couple spots. We can do a better job in the red zone-these are all things that I think you know-in the red zone we weren't consistent enough. We had our spurts, here and there, but we weren't consistent enough at that. We need to do a better job of scoring on defense and on special teams. Our takeaway-giveaway ratio was horrendous; we have to do a better job there."

On whether scoring more points is the main offseason objective:

"The main objective is that you score more than the other team scores. Those are the things you look at. How do you keep them out of the end zone and how do you score more points? There's a lot that goes into that, so, we're going to study all the things that go into that."

On whether the secondary needs help for next season:

"I think one plus is that we saw that J.R. [Reed] can play. He had a chance to start for us a couple games and has a chance to be a legitimate guy. Sean Considine is going to come back off the injury and is working hard now. You have a guy there and then we'll look at the draft and free agency and everything else. I think Dawkins will work his tail off this offseason, which he didn't have a chance to do last offseason. He'll come back in better shape, better playing shape. We'll see about Lito [Sheppard]. I can't tell you he's going to have surgery or not have surgery. We have to see how his knee is and the doctors will determine what's going to happen there, one way or another."

On whether big changes or small changes are in order for this team:

"I really haven't gotten into all that yet. The thing you have to do, and [general manager] Tom [Heckert] has been doing it the last couple of weeks, is blending the draft and free agency. You have to see what the strengths of the draft are, you have to know the juniors that are coming out-you're kind of guestimating that right now. And with free agency, you have to know which guys are going to sign back with their teams which guys aren't. You're going through and you have to blend that together at this point and see what's available. Then you go from there. It's too early to tell you one way or another."

On how to improve the turnover ratio:

"Obviously, what we saw the last three games is what we expected to see earlier in the year. It didn't work out that way. For a number of reasons it didn't work out that way. Am I satisfied with it? No. Am I going to analyze everything? Yes. I'll come up with what I think is the right decision to make there. You go back and you count how many dropped balls you had. You look, number one, at the pressure. Pressure has a tendency to cause turnovers. If you get up in the quarterback's face, that ball has a chance of going crazy places. You have a greater chance of making the interception. We've got to look at all that."

On QB Donovan McNabb's health:

"I thought it was big for him to get through this season the way he did; that's why I played him yesterday as much as I did. I thought it was important for him to get through this year and I think next year he'll be right back to where he's always been-maybe even a little bit better. I think it was a great experience for him to have all mobility taken away early. Where, in his mind, he had to become an in-pocket passer. He didn't have 100 percent of his capacity to run. For somebody in his ninth year to have a chance to be even better than he was is a great thing. Now he's getting the mobility back and he's becoming an even better thrower than he was before-and I think he was pretty good before.

On whether he and McNabb have discussed being more of a pocket passer coming back from his injury:

"No. He played the offense. He knew that it was tough to get out and outrun people early. He knew that early and it even makes you a little bit better as you go on."

On whether McNabb can ever be back to 100 percent:

"The knee, after you have surgery, is never the same. But it can still be pretty close. As time goes on here and he's able to let that thing rest a little bit, just like he was when he had the ankle injury. He came back and all of a sudden, the legs were a little bit more alive. Now he has a whole offseason to go back and take a little time off and get into his workouts. He'll come back this next year and it will be way better than it was this year."

On McNabb's comments that the team could use an impact free agent:

"I haven't heard Donovan talk about that, so I'm not answering it. I know, as players, you have to be careful about saying that because those are your teammates that are being replaced. Most players don't get into that who really care about their teammates on the other side."

On whether he is looking for an impact return man:

"We'll see how that goes. That's one position I will look at closely. We'll see how it all works out. It was good to have Reno [Mahe] back in there; somebody you can trust, who would do the right things with it. He showed his value, as did Brian [Westbrook], when he had opportunities to do that."

On the draft and free agency:

"We've always said the draft is the most important thing. That's number one. You have to draft well if you're going to keep the thing going. The better team you become, it's harder for draft picks to make your team, especially when you accumulate the numbers that we have. However, we've had a few make it over the years, and we've made room for those guys. The draft is number one, and then free agency, I think you have to be very selective on who you take and where you plug them in."

On whether McNabb needs more weapons around him in the red zone:

"I guess if you look at things statistically, here's a guy who had his second-highest completion percentage, a 1,000-yard receiver and a running back who broke a lot of records. We need to get a little more production out of the tight end spot. With L.J. [Smith] being banged up, we didn't get quite as much out of utilizing a rookie, who will improve, who has the ability to do that. But, we could use a little more production there. I think he has some good weapons. Reggie [Brown] stepped it up and had a career year, which was a positive. Really, that happened more in the latter half of the season than it did in the first half. He needs to continue on and have a good season and pick up where he left off."

On whether L.J. Smith could be re-signed:

"We'll see how that goes. That's not out of the question at all."

On why it helped McNabb to not have his mobility in the first half of the season:

"It takes away [his ability] where he could roll out of the pocket and make huge plays. That was a lot of pressure on defenses. Defenses wouldn't try certain things on you. When they either don't think you can do that, or you can't do that as well, you are going to have to see a few more things than what you've seen in the past. He overcame that. Teams were throwing a lot of different looks at him than they did in the past. I thought he did a phenomenal job with it. I can't help but think that it adds to his game down the road."

On what the team could have done better in hindsight:

"I'm not big on the hindsight part, but I take a lot of pride here, that going into the fourth quarter with the lead, you finish the game off. Those games that we were ahead in the fourth quarter, that's my responsibility to put our players in a position to finish those things off. We've got to get back to that mentality as a football team. I thought we did that better down the stretch. But, there has to be an intensity, a want to dominate, an aggressiveness, both from coaches and players, not to allow that kind of thing to happen, nor a season like this to happen."

On whether he or offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg had to change their playcalling to account for McNabb's lack of mobility in the first half of the season:

"No, that's not what I mean. The same plays were called. There were things Donovan would do, where if he didn't see somebody, he could escape and get outside the pocket and do certain things. It wasn't a different play that needed to be called, or any of that. It was just something in his game, a small thing in his game that he's always had and knew that he could utilize, but wasn't there at the capacity that it had been before. Teams knew that. Teams saw it, they knew it, so they tried to do different things. He handled it. I just think that he can take that as a real positive going into this offseason. He took everybody's best look, blitzes that he hadn't seen before, and did some nice things with them. We did a little bit more shotgun than we had done in the past; he handled that well. There were just some good things that came out for him that I think, this next year, will make it a very good year for him."