Coach Whisenhunt's Thursday Practice Report



(on Avery Williamson settling in on the defensive side)

He does a lot of things for us, and he's getting better and better every week. I think his recognition of what he's seen on the other side of the ball, he's got a lot confidence in how he's playing. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, which is unusual for a young player like that. He's grown up quickly. It's been a great asset to have him, especially after Zach (Brown) got hurt earlier this year. He's come in and done a really nice job for us.

(on if he is surprised by how quickly Avery Williamson has developed)

One of the things we really liked about Avery (Williamson) was his maturity coming out. He did a great job when we talked to him in the interviews. Obviously, he loves football. I don't think you can ever anticipate that he would progress the way he did. You hope so, but it's been a real pleasant surprise.

(on how they are preparing for the Eagles' fast-paced offense)

I think it's more being on the same page, number one, and being ready to go, not getting surprised. I don't think it's as much conditioning, just the element. It's a spacing offense, and they're trying to get people in the space by going at a hurried tempo, at an up tempo, and they do a good job of it. You have to make sure that you're not out of position, because that's how they exploit it. You've got to be able to do that in a short time. I think you just have to understand the tempo and the sense of urgency that you have to play with.

(on Eagles RB Darren Sproles and opportunities for Dexter McCluster this week)

I think they've probably done a good job with Darren. He's a great player. He's made some big plays for them. I would like for us to have been a little bit more efficient offensively and give Dexter (McCluster) those chances. The way it's gone with us this year, with Dexter, just the other night, we get him wide open in the throw, and we don't get a chance to run with it after the catch. We're going to keep working, but that's kind of some of what you envision for Dexter.

(on Delanie Walker's concussion status)

We'll find out more today. He's supposed to see him and get the results, but we're optimistic that everything will be good.

(on how the tight ends have performed without Delanie Walker)

Well, Delanie (Walker) has a little different view of that. He thinks it's a big drop-off. You've got to give Chase (Coffman) credit, because there were a lot of other things going on last week besides just football. I really respect the way that he responded and played in the game, which we needed. He set the table for that in the preseason by coming in here and doing a good job. He's done a good job in what we've asked him to do when he came back. He did a nice job.

(on fixing gap fits and if he finds it shocking that gap fits are an issue this late in the season)

Ray (Horton's) closer to it, because that's his baby, and I understand that. Not that I'm not besting him or don't care about (it). I do. The one thing that I think you lose sight of, that's a good football team. They've been together. They've been operating their system. They've played well. I'm disappointed that we didn't do better with that, absolutely. We've done such a good job with growing as a defense and did a good job in that game for a great part of it. For us, as a team, to get into the fourth quarter with the way we played and not be able to come out with a win, it's all phases. Like I said the other day, we didn't punt the ball well enough, which could have changed the field position. We missed two third downs, which could have been big for us to keep the drives going, which would have gotten our defense off the field. Certainly if we'd tackled a little better and fit those gaps a little bit better, those are all things that burn in your gut when you come out of a game like that, because in that stage we had a chance to win, and we didn't get it done. Only thing you can do is get back out here and keep working.

(on what the team can learn from Eagles QB Mark Sanchez's story as a player)

I think that position, obviously, is a notable position, and there's a lot of attention, but there are a lot of stories like that that don't get the same amount of attention because it's an offensive guard or it's a linebacker. That's what being a pro is all about. You've got to give him credit for hanging in there, because he played a high-profile position in a high-profile town. The exit wasn't good, but he still believed in himself, and I think that's an important piece of it, believing in yourself.

(on the missed check on the third-down play)

It shouldn't have gone to Bishop (Sankey). It was a blitz. We had mechanics to get out of it, and we didn't execute it. It's disappointing because that's the second time it happened. Tommy (Smith) yelled at me in Houston (joking/laughter) because the same thing happened in Houston on the two-point play. I thought we would have been better with that. We've just got to continue to work. He did say, 'What was that?' and I said, 'Same thing, we missed it.' It's one of those things, it's a play that we've been very successful with over the years. We've just got to keep working and execute it better.

(on how often he talks with Tommy Smith)

At least a couple of times a week, see him every week. It's been really good.

(on what he and Tommy Smith talk about besides football)

We talk about other things. He's a very intelligent man. I have a lot of respect for what he's done in the business. He's passionate about this team and about winning football. He's disappointed that we're not where we need to be or where we should be, and we're working to get better.

(on Tommy Smith's reaction with the missed check on third down)

I can go into a little more detail with him than I can with you guys, because I don't want to give away the mechanics of the play. Needless to say, you see one of those plays, it doesn't make you happy, because you're like, what the heck are you doing when the guy gets tackled right there in the hole? Trust me, there was a solution, and it was a good solution, we just didn't execute it.

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