Kevin Gilbride, 12.10.09

Q:  We talked to Tom about this yesterday – and Eli – about Travis Beckum and just about how Jerry talked about him being a guy late in the season could be an up the field, up the middle guy.  Do you think he is going to be that for you or could be that option for you?

A:  Down the road, absolutely, absolutely; and hopefully even now.  That is where we started to use him a little bit throughout the course of the year – even in Kansas City -- we have done some things.  And then either because he was hurt or for other reasons we haven’t been able to take advantage of him quite as much as we want.  But he has got a lot of physical ability.  I think it is just a matter of knowing what he is doing and becoming comfortable enough that you can count on him to do the right thing.

Q:  When he is out there we have seen him out wide.  Does he have to shore up other stuff like blocking in order to get in the middle there?

A:  He is never going to be – or he is certainly not in the year or two – going to be at the point of attack.  That is not who he is.

Q:  I mean H-back or something like that?

A:  He is fine out there.  No, he is fine in that stuff.

Q:  Do you feel like you ran the ball better the other day or what were your thoughts?

A:  Statistically it didn’t look like that, but it was kind of the course of the day.  I didn’t think we had many negative runs.  And as long as we can stay positive and making two, three and then an occasional big play – that is good enough for me.  Because it allows us to -  it shores up the protection.  It makes the defensive ends play more honestly.  It just gives our line a better chance to protect and everything else.  And of course we got a couple of big runs, which was good.  The one by Ahmad was obviously a great – a real big one.  But to me, it is just consistency.  If we can get a couple of three-yard – no negatives – and negatives were a couple of games before that don’t even show up on the stat sheet – where we get a holding call.  We were getting those things that were killing us.  So from that standpoint it was better. Is it at the average per carry that you would like it to be yet?  No, not yet.  But hopefully we took a step in the right direction.  I thought Brandon ran better.  No only that, I thought he ran more consistently.

Q:  Do you think as the weather changes that Kevin Boss – this time of year – needs to be more of a target?

A:  I laugh sometimes when I hear that stuff.  All it is is whoever gets open based on his scheme and what have you.  What a lot of guys don’t realize is that the one that we threw deep down the field – that really was the primary guy was Boss on the ….route.  He felt that he had a touchdown to Steve so he threw it there. The touchdown to Brandon Jacobs – that was designed to go to Kevin Boss. But they were so committed to knocking him, riding him in – that is what opened up, Brandon. So all I care is that when he has a chance to get open, that he does and he catches the ball. You know he is going to catch the ball. He has terrific hands. He has a great radius. His big thing is getting off the jams and stuff like that. And they made a commitment to bang on him a little bit. So we were able to capitalize on it on that one play for a big play, but a couple of other plays that were designed to go him – he has to do a better job of getting off being banged around. Because they know he is a big target; he is a good player.  So they commit --- that is the way to slow him down and so that is the area that he knows that if he can get done.  It is hard to run with him. He is a big, long-legged guy once he gets going.

Q: The wind, the weather – a big target.

A:  It is always nice when you can do that.

Q:  The deep fade up the left sideline to Manningham on the offside penalty.  It looked like it would have been a touchdown if he is in bounds there.

A:  It is an area that he has to get better.  He has made some big plays for us and it is an area he knows – we talk to him all of the time – he has great speed but you can’t just run six inches from the sidelines; even the game before – two games before that when he had 120 yards – a lot of them were dangerously close to the sidelines.

Q:  The Falcons game.

A:  Yeah, Falcons game.  You talk about cutting down the margin of error – for the quarterback it really makes it challenging for the QB. But it is something that we have talked about.  He is working on it.  He gives us the speed that we would love to have out on the field.  So that is an area that he just has to commit to; which he is.  He knows he has to work on it either with your speed and your quickness, tighten your alignment – get inside releases, do whatever or do enough of a job with your initial fake on your release that when you do go to the outside you are not drifting towards the sidelines, which is something that he has done.  And sometimes he has fought through it and gotten back over the top and made some great plays for us and sometimes he hasn’t.  That was one of those times that he let the guy just run him right into the sidelines.  That is one of the things that he has to get better at.

Q:  It looks like when he clears to the outside, he still has a chance to get on top of that guy and ride it back it in.

A:  Sometimes he does a great job.  But it is the inconsistency.  That is the one thing.  Again, he has made as many big plays for us as anybody.  And we want to keep giving him that chance to do it. But when he doesn’t win, that is usually the reason he didn’t win.

Q:  You guys have obviously picked up a lot of yards on screen passes.  You even had Will Beatty running out for a pass.  Do you think you have given Philadelphia enough different things to worry about defensively?

A:  I hope so. That is part of the game, that they can’t gang up or load up on you and say, "Hey, this is what they do.  This is the only thing they can do." And that is where – you asked me about the running game before – you don’t want to just be a passing team; you don’t want to be just a running team. You would like to be able to do both.  And when they start to commit themselves to stopping one phase of your offense, that usually gives you a chance to take advantage of it in the other areas. And then you hope you are good enough to do that.

Q:  Stats wise, I thought the Eagles run defense might be a little susceptible outside the tackles.  What do you see from their run defense?

A:  We have struggled doing that. Their defensive ends have been tough matchups for our tight ends.  So that has been a difficult matchup for us. So that is one of the challenges that we have to overcome if we are going to be effective running the ball.

Q:  There has been some criticism of Eli in Giants Stadium in this month.  For whatever reason – wind, it is tough for any quarterback.  Do you think there is something to it?  Is that something that you have to be conscious of when you are calling plays with the weather that you are going to see Sunday night?

A: Yeah, there is no question.  That is why everybody that comes here – most opposing quarterbacks – that is why their stats are always going to come down a little bit because the wind is another factor.  It helps our defense tremendously.  But it makes it more difficult for us offensively.  So it is something that you are cognizant of.  The problem is what do you do to compensate for it because the opposing team knows those things, too.  So they are going to sit all over the underneath stuff and it challenges you and you have to be more precise, more exact, or you have got to be able to have the ability to once in a while to take advantage and throw down the field and make a big play.  It does open up some opportunities down there and you hope you can seize those.

Q:  What more do you want to see from Hakeem Nicks?

A:  Just more polish in his route running. Sometimes he will do a very good job of his technique and get himself wide open and then the next time he is not quite as --- the inconsistency that would expect of a young guy.  Let me say this, he has made progress in all areas in that respect. But there are still some things he – route running, recognition of things, realization of how a guy is playing him so to modify or adjust what you are doing.  Whereas an experienced guy would know, "Oh, he is doing this, OK I know this."  I’m not sure it registers with him right now.  "This is my release move.  …… normally but not now because this defender is doing this to you." But the one thing that he has done all of the time is that he catches the ball very well and he is tremendous at the run after the catch.  So we try to take advantage of that – get it into his hands as much as we can. Those things he has been outstanding – right from day one. And he has made progress -- every other week you see a little incremental improvement in those other areas.

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