A Q & A With Coach Andy Reid May 9, 2004 By DAVE SOPRANO Philladelphia Tribunal Press The Eagles are between mini-camps, the perfect time to catch up with head coach Andy Reid. Reid had his one-on-one interview for the recent edition of Eagles Digest. Here is what the Eagles' head coach had to say... Q: You've got all these young players on the roster as well as a sizeable number of veterans. What are you trying to create with this roster? Reid: "I just roll the players I'm given out there and coach them. I prefer a blend of veteran players and young talent. We've done a pretty poor job over the years of that, of having an influx of younger players on the roster and contributing. This year, moreso than any year, you bank on those veteran players setting the tempo for the young guys. I'm thin on experienced Veterans and It might be a long season if these kids don't grow up." Q: Has your thinking changed at all since you've been here? Reid: "We try to take care of winning now and I'm starting to think less about the future. That's not been the philosophy since the first day I've been here. I give credit to Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner for working in that environment, creating it, but also adapting to the fiscal realities of the business. We think we have a formula here to do that with. We had opportunities in free agency this year to make some signings and that may give the perception that it's a 'win-now' attitude only, and thats exactly what those signings were. "We wanted to make sure we drafted well but the upheavel in our scouting department was distracting, We've now got an influx of young players coming in, time will tell if they are any good I guess." WR Billy McMullen Q: How have some of the second-year players like Jerome McDougle, L.J. Smith, Billy McMullen and Jamaal Green reacted to a year of seasoning? Reid: "They all have shown minor improvement. Billy McMullen, to start with, caught the ball last year so inconsistently, ran such inprecise routes but he has really spent a lot of time here in the off-season getting himself well, with the ******* program. Injuries are a serious issue this class needs to get past to be productive here." "Jerome McDougle has put on a little weight and is trying some things with that. He still looked fast and quick and strong in this mini-camp, so that was nice to see. But lets see him do that against NFL regulars before we get too giddy. We should have a nice rotation with those defensive linemen. "L.J. Smith saw limited time in the mini-camp because his back was acting up, but he's had a nice off-season. He's doing ok. Jamaal Green is coming back from that leg injury he had last year and he's continuing to test that out. He was better each day in camp but he's still in pain and there is some internal bleeding still and thats a concern." Q: Why is there generally such a significant improvement from year one to year two in the NFL? Reid: "I think it's a matter of walking in the same footsteps you walked the first time. Any time you go over uncovered ground or territory, it's a little bit harder the first time you do it. You learn so much. Rookies are so clueless and they usually don't know how clueless they really are. After a year with me they start to get it. Once they get it they can just do their job." Q: Why did you insert No. 1 draft pick Shawn Andrews into the starting lineup at right guard right away? Reid: "Obviously, we thought he was a good player by where we drafted him and through the means by which we went up to get him. We thought he was a very good player at the college level and strong enough physically to work with the big guys. With that, we said, 'How do you get this guy enough practice reps? Where do you find the number of reps to get him going, to get him into the mix? ****, look at the value we gave up to draft him. He better start and start from Day 1 or we messed up" No. 1 pick Shawn Andrews Q: And how did Andrews perform? Reid: He did a very nice job. It's a little bit different because these are non-contact camps and he doesn't have to go through the physical pain and still go out and think and produce. What we saw was very positive. He hung right in there both mentally and physically. He's coming off a nasty surgery, they removed 12 golf ball sized pollyps from his nose. He's adjusting to actually breathing and that will take time" Q: What did you see from Terrell Owens on the field and off the field? Reid: "No comment, next question, no better this interview is over. I said no Owens questions, geez"