Alright, I haven't talked to you guys in a while. Just a quick update on where we are because it seems like people are in a little bit of a panic about where we are. The perception is that we are not doing a lot. We had a game plan and we are sticking to our game plan. We went out and secured the center that we wanted. We felt like he was the best center in the market and we feel like he is a Pro Bowl center for us. He is our kind of guy, he is flexible and can play guard and center. He makes us strong up the middle so we got out there and did that right away. It is not as sexy as a receiver or cornerback but the guy touches the ball every single play and that was important to us to have a guy secured like him.
Then Bradshaw was a priority for us. We made responsible offers to all of these guys and we were able to secure Ahmad Bradshaw and that was important to us as well. He is back in the fold and that gives us a couple running backs with starter experience who have rushed for 1,000 yards. We have some young kids in the backfield we are excited about seeing on Saturday.
The offensive line and the rest of the guys, (Kevin) Boothe became a priority as well. He was a free agent and a swing man who can play any of the inside spots so we secured him as well. David moves into guard. Will Beatty, the maturation process for him has come full circle. He is our left tackle and we expect him to play well and he played well last year for us. Our right side is still intact with Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie. Mitch Petrus will have a year under his belt and Stacy Andrews and some more guys. We also drafted (James) Brewer so we feel good about where we are with our offensive line.
Our receivers, Steve Smith went to Philadelphia. Steve did a tremendous job for us while he was here but it is free agency and guys leave in free agency and that's the way it is sometimes. Nobody owes you anything in free agency. It is almost a dog eat dog situation in free agency but it happens that way sometimes. Free agency is free agency and guys go to different teams. There was a lot of free agents on the market this time. Steve moved on and we are happy for him. I hope he gets healthy and plays for a long time. He did a good job for us but we have receivers here. We have accomplished receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. They had 2,000 yards together and 20 touchdowns and that's a lot of production. We have some young guys like (Victor) Cruz, who we want to see do some different things. We have Jerrel Jernigan and Dominik Hixon back. (Ramses) Barden is hurt right now but we expect him to come on and be a good player for us as well so that's our receiver situation. Obviously we are going to look every day for better players for our roster.
The tight end situation with Kevin Boss, we made a responsible offer to Kevin as well, along with Steve. Everybody we made responsible offers to. Kevin moved on. We would have liked to have secured Kevin back but it is free agency and he got a better offer than we put out there to him. We are happy for him and we hope he does well. We appreciate his services, along with Steve, that he gave us here.
We wanted to secure a punter in the offseason to compete with Matt Dodge and we did that with (Steve) Weatherford and we think it will be a good battle for that punter spot.
We secured another veteran quarterback to battle for that number two spot in David Carr to battle with Sage (Rosenfels) for the number two spot as well. (Ryan) Perriloux is an interesting kid for us as well at the quarterback position.
I will jump over to defense. Our defensive front, we should be good upfront. It really looks the part upfront but it is a 'show me' business so we will see. I expect our front to be really good. Osi, we expect to be back in the fold. I'm not going to make any comments on that situation but there are still some issues that we are trying to resolve. We expect him to be back and our defensive front should be strong. It should be the strong part of our defense.
Our linebackers, Jon Goff is in his second season as a full time starter but there will be some competition. I wouldn't say he has it locked down because there will be some competition at that spot. (Michael) Boley as well, he has started obviously but there will be some competition at every position. (Mathias) Kiwanuka is out there and he is our joker. He can play linebacker, he can play as an end and he can play as a tackle inside. He brings a lot of versatility for us and that's what we like about him.
In the secondary, we should be better back there in the secondary. Kenny Phillips is coming off the knee and he should be better in his second year coming off the knee. Antrel Rolle, his role in Perry (Fewell's) defense after a couple of years. He is going into his second year in this defense. Our corners, Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross are having good camps and of course, Prince (Amukamara) our first round draft picks. It is unfortunate he broke his foot but we expect him back. Hopefully after the first four games we can get him back but we won't rush it. We won't have any setbacks with that but it would be great to have your first round pick coming in at that time. Who knows what the injury situation will be at that point but it is good to know that you have a guy waiting in the wings at some point of his caliber during the season.
The Plaxico Burress thing, we made a responsible offer to him as well. He decided to move on and go a different direction. It is free agency and that's what happens in free agency. Sometimes you get guys and sometimes you don't. We feel good about our roster and we have a strong roster. We will continue to try to make it stronger. That is my update.
Q: Are you bothered by the perception that your ballclub is not moving ahead and that this team is taking a step back?
A: I'm not bothered by that because that's mostly fans who say that kind of stuff and they really don't understand the process. We have good players on the team. We're not looking to go out and make every sexy splash that can be made. We make solid football decisions. That's been happening for a long time. Everywhere, you probably go to any camp, and the fans are saying that about their football team. That's what fans do and that's what makes fans great.
Q: Did Steve Smith signing with the Eagles blindside or surprise you? Did you think you were going to get a chance to match the offer?
A: I'm not blindsided or surprised by anything in free agency. It is what it is. Like I said, it's almost a dog-eat-dog situation in free agency sometimes. I don't get into a 'he said, she said' situation, but you do expect some feedback. Again, nobody owes you anything in free agency. I'm not surprised by anything.
Q: In the case of Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, how aware of the market were you?
A: I think we had a good handle on what the market was.
Q: In the decisions you made – O'Hara, Seubert, Boss, Smith – did injuries play into what you offered them?
A: Of course. We put everything into consideration. That was part of the consideration as well, of course.
Q: If Steve Smith signs with another team before Kevin Boss does, do you make more of a push to get Kevin back? At the time, you seemed like you were expecting Steve to be back here.
A: Again, it's free agency. Look around. Look at everybody's roster. People change rosters. It's called free agency for a reason. Those guys are free to go somewhere else. We made responsible offers to everybody. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you want it to work out, but we play the hand we're dealt and we'll win with it.
Q: Are you concerned that two safety valves for Eli Manning are gone?
A: It's kind of ironic, when we drafted Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, the same people who were sending me the mail saying they don't like those guys, are the same guys saying now, why did you let them go? That's football. That's the way it is. We feel good about our squad. Somebody has to step up. Again, we had two receivers last year play really well. [Hakeem] Nicks played 13 games, had 11 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards. Mario [Mannigham], I think he started six games, had over 900 yards and nine touchdowns. We have some guys who've been in there. We have some young guys who we expect to step up. It's a great opportunity for everybody. Our quarterback is in his wheelhouse. We expect him to self-correct, like I mentioned at the first presser we had. We expect him to self-correct some of those things. We're going to be good.
Q: When you talked to Steve Smith earlier, did you get a sense that he wasn't interested in coming back?
A: Again guys, I have no hard feelings towards Steve. Steve did what he thought was best for him. We just had a short conversation. He was in to take a physical, we wanted to see where he was physically. We got that information and he had made the decision to go somewhere else and we're ok with that. We're ok.
Q: How far away did you think he was from playing?
A: We really don't talk about what our doctors' information is, but there were some concerns about his health.
Q: Should we see Osi practicing Monday?
A: I hope so.
Q: Do you know what the doctor today said?
A: I do not.
Q: How much has your salary cap situation played into the moves you have or haven't made?
A: Obviously you have to stay in the confines of the salary cap so that goes into the consideration to some of the things we had to do as well. Our cap situation is we're flexible, we can still do some things if we need to – something with respect to the salary cap.
Q: If Osi does get a clean bill of health, does he travel to Carolina with the team?
A: I'm not sure about that.
Q: You talked about sticking to your game plan. Is it fair to say that without some of the potential signings – Burress, Boss, Smith – that that leaves you short in those spots?
A: When I say sticking to our game plan, we made responsible offers and if those offers weren't good enough, we would move on. That's what I'm saying when I say sticking to our game plan. We do have tight ends. Kevin [Boss] caught 35 balls last year. We have Travis Beckum, we think he can catch 35 balls. We think some of the other young tight ends we have can contribute as a receiver as well. There's plenty of room for guys to step up. We expect them to. We've drafted guys at those positions. We expect them to step up.
Q: Is this team better than it was at this point last year?
A: The proof is in the pudding. We'll see. We'll see. We don't know who can do what until they get out there. We'll see when we get out, but we feel like we have a strong squad.
Q: Do you draw back on the '07 experience when you won a Super Bowl without making a lot of moves?
A: How many big, sexy moves did the Green Bay Packers make last year? I don't remember a lot. Who won before? Pittsburgh. How many big sexy moves did they have? You develop players. The making the splash, the big sexy moves, I don't know if that always works. Who won the Super Bowl before Pittsburgh? The Saints, did they have any big sexy moves? I don't remember any. I don't remember a lot if they did. You make solid football decisions. You get good continuity on your team. You play as a team. You give yourself a chance to win. I don't know if all the big, sexy moves are the right way to go.
Q: It seems that the flipside of that is hanging onto the guys you have?
A: Every year is different. There's no template on how every year pans out. Every year is different. Again, we feel good about where we are. We'll continue to look for players to make our roster stronger, but we're not going to throw in the towel right now. We think we have a strong team and we're looking forward to the season and we'll continue to try to make our roster stronger and we're in good position right now.
Q: Do you feel you got a raw deal on the Smith thing?
A: Nope. I don't feel I got a raw deal on anything. It's free agency, guys can do what they want to do in free agency. That's the way it is.
Q: Would you have upped your offer?
A: I don't really want to make any more comments about it. Steve did a terrific job for us. We wish him the best. We're moving on from that. That's behind us as far as I'm concerned. We're moving on.
Q: Ben Patrick signed and then retired. Did you know of anything?
A: We didn't know. He has some personal issues that he's trying to get resolved.
Q: Is this the first time since you became GM that you feel like you're under the microscope.
A: That's funny. No. Come up to my office, let me show you some of the mail I get. I'll show you under the microscope from the very beginning. It was pretty vicious at the very beginning, some of the mail that I got. This is a big boy sport. If you have thin skin in this market or in the National Football League, period, you're in the wrong job. I'm tougher than I look.
Q: Do you feel you wouldn't be answering these questions if the Eagles weren't up to what they've been up to?
A: No. Regardless of what happens, you always have to answer these questions. It doesn't matter what you do in free agency or in the offseason. There's always questions to be answered. Again, we won 10 games last year. It wasn't like we were 6-10. We were 10-6. We expect to build off that. If we made a couple of plays here and there last year, we would've made the playoffs and who knows what would've happened if that were to happen, but it didn't happen. We'll make the plays this time and we'll get into the playoffs and we'll make a run.