Q: Is the installation, the things you do early in camp, is it any different because you didn't have mini camps and OTAs this year?A: It's different only in the sense that instead of this being the third time that you've gone through something – once in your OTAs, the second time reviewing it in minicamp, this is the third time through – now it's the first time. For the older guys it's more of a, 'Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot.' Or you're chipping off a little rust. For the new guys, it's the first time you've ever heard it. Trying to reconcile the pace with new guys who have never heard any of this stuff before with the guys who, you know, you're ready to work on the refinement and the nuances of some things can be a little bit challenging. What we're trying to do, to the best of our ability, is go at the same installation pace that we normally do. What we're getting a chance to do is review it twice – once going in, practicing and then coming back and doing it in the morning. To date so far, I think we're doing pretty well. As it continues to go on, we'll see.
Q: What is your level of concern about the possibility of Bradshaw, Boss, Smith?A: It's nothing I have any control over. Obviously, we want to get all of our parts back in place. You lose two starters on the offensive line, a guy missing in the backfield, you got a guy missing at tight end. You got maybe as good of an inside receiver as there is in Steve Smith not here, obviously. Eventually, those things will work themselves out. Hopefully they'll work themselves out with our former players, but until it happens, all you can do is see maybe who can play in their place, particularly the inside receiver position. It's a chance for some guys who maybe haven't had a chance, who wouldn't normally have gotten as many opportunities, as many reps, maybe emerge. That's how certain guys have all of a sudden become fixtures is that a chance became available and they took advantage of it. Hopefully these guys will do the same.
Q: Who are those guys?A: You're looking at a bunch of them. Victor Cruz has looked pretty good. You've got Domenik Hixon back, who's looked good. Devin [Thomas] has looked good. Sam Giguere has looked good. The problem is you've only had two practices so no one has gotten a lot of repetitions, but you do see some of the quickness, some of the physical skill set that you need to play those positions. Hopefully as they do it enough times, they will have learned it well enough that you can actually see whatever ability they have. It's hard to be good at anything, fluent at anything, when you're still thinking and all of those guys are still thinking.
Q: How much of an advantage in this situation is it to have Eli, who's been here all of these years?A: It's an advantage at that position. It doesn't help anybody else, but it helps him because that is always going to be the hub of the wheel. To have a guy that is playing the most indispensable role familiar with what you're trying to achieve is certainly beneficial.
Q: For a guy like DJ Ware and some of the other running backs to get stuff with the first team, how much does that help?A: I referenced it with the slot position or the receiver position, but it's certainly pertinent to all of the positions, whether it's the offensive line with Mitch Petrus or Kevin Boothe hopefully in a few days and those guys, but certainly also the running back position. Danny is a guy that's been around for a few years, but maybe he's never had quite as many chances to be the first and second back as he's going to get now.
Q: Does this help him a lot?A: Hopefully.
Q: What makes Beatty the best option at left tackle?A: You look at a guy that has the kind of foot speed, the kind of athleticism, the kind of physical reactionary ability to play that position that not everybody possesses. I'm not talking about just on our team. I'm talking about any team. You're always looking for that prize athlete that can play the left tackle position. He has the physical wherewithal to do those things. Does he have the experience, does he have all of the other things that have to come into play – the intelligence, the ability to react to different schemes, the blitz pickup with any counter – that remains to be seen. But to date right now, he's working very hard, he looked very physical without pads, but it isn't very physical because of the way we practice. I mean, guys are going after each other, given the look. He's responding very well. He looks good. It's early. The thing that always concerns me with the new guys is the consistency factor – you see flashes, you see glimpses. Can he do it play in and play out? As you guys know, you can block 50 plays great, 5 or 6 bad plays and all of a sudden you're losing a game and maybe losing a quarterback. That's what you have to see from him. I have nothing but praise for what he's shown so far.
Q: Does he have to play tougher?A: That's something that you're looking for. You've lost a couple of guys. You've moved David Diehl inside to try to replace some of the toughness that you had with Richie (Seubert) and with Shaun (O'Hara). You're not losing too much there, but now what's going to take place, what's going to manifest itself at the tackle position? Right now he looks good. Last year in the run game, he was very physical. We have no reason to think he's not going to be, but I'm always one of those guys that tell you do it.
Q: Did you have to make adjustments last season after losing Steve Smith?A: We tried not to change it. It obviously proved that we had to do some adjustments, whereas with him you could just say, 'Hey any two [safeties] high and go ahead, we're going to win inside with him.' He was as good as anybody in the league at doing those things. After we saw that we were not as good, then we had to make some changes. We modified and I thought until maybe the last game of the year, where we were not very good against the Redskins, some of those guys stepped up and did very well for us. But there's no question we had to compensate, do some things different schematically.
Q: The offensive line needs to gel together and you have two -fifths of it gone.A: Yeah. It's not the perfect world, but we're not unique in that sense. A lot of people have to deal with that. The good thing is that the guys we have are very flexible, adaptable. I think it's been talked about, Chris Snee has moved in, basically he's performed very well, flawlessly at the center position. Mitch [Petrus] has had a chance. He's done a good job. You'd like to have everybody here, that's the perfect world. We don't have it so we just have to make the best of it.
Q: How comfortable are you going in with Nicks and Manningham as your number 1 and 2 receivers?A: I think both of them have proven to be very, very good players. You'd like to have your full compliment, but those guys have both played well. Now we have to keep them healthy for the entire season. I think we'll be fine.
Q: How closely were you following the Plaxico Burress headlines the last week?A: Obviously, you have not only the appreciation for him as a player, but we had a great relationship and we enjoyed having him. He was terrific in our meetings. He was terrific with the younger players. He was terrific with us and his coaches. We would have loved to have him back. I certainly wasn't counting on it happening. I can't say I'm disappointed because I didn't know which way it was going to go.
Q: With what the Eagles have done, can you say it's going to be fun getting ready for them?A: [They're] making it a challenge.