OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MATT NAGY
Q: How does it feel to be back to the offensive coordinator position?
NAGY: “Yeah it feels good, you know. Just to get back really just in football in general, just from the season last year. (It was) such a joy. It was a lot of fun. Like I said before, familiar faces for me but now we’re back at it. You know, short offseason which we (wouldn’t) trade off any year and get back to it.”
Q: On Kadarius Toney’s role this season.
NAGY: “Well I think we all see what he can do when the football’s in his hands and again same type of deal, he comes over halfway through the season, it’s a whole new offense, he’s got to learn the ins and outs, and so you have that point and he was able to do that and it’s exciting now for us to be able to take that to year two and build that relationship with Pat (Mahomes). But he’s super talented with the football in his hands and he’s been that way his entire life in his football career.”
Q: How did your scheme evaluation process in your previous roles to now doing scheme evaluation this past offseason returning to offensive coordinator how did that help you in your process and how you want to imprint on the offense?
NAGY: “Sure, well, again, everybody here knows I was fortunate enough to come in here in 2013 with (Head) Coach (Andy Reid) and kind of be there to be a part of the process of implementing the system that we run and that’s evolved immensely in that time till now. But then you have the scheme eval. Every year is different and we’re really hard on ourselves to be in the top three every year in almost all categories. We want to do that but there’s some areas of improvement that we have that we know we can get better at without telling the whole world, we know what they are and internally we’re working on that. That’s the challenging part that keeps you going as a coach and as a player wanting to be great in those but not lose where you are really good situationally. So, that’s for me just a part of the process.”
Q: What do you see in Wide Receivers Coach Connor Embree that makes you confident he’s the right guy and right coach for the position group right now?
NAGY: “Yeah, that’s a great question and (Wide Receivers) Connor (Embree) I think has – internally when we’re in the building we get to see everyday how these coaches are in front of their players and another thing that (Head) Coach (Andy Reid) does it he does a great job in the offseason that again, no one sees, but he gives a lot of responsibilities to the young coaches – quality control coaches, assistant coaches by position. Connor’s done that and I think what better way to interview for that type of position than doing it every day in your role that you’re in which has been the last previous couple years. Connor has great strengths. He’s going to grow like all of us every year. He’ll get better. But it’s also the player’s job too to know that and to help out and help each other out so that’s the fun part.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR STEVE SPAGNUOLO
OPENING STATEMENT: “Good to see everybody. Alright, (it’s) just great to be back out there, it was nice and humid today. A little different than yesterday, yesterday was nice and cool. Today, we got a little heat and we got a lot of work done and we’ve had a bunch of work done since we’ve last visited with you guys and gals (the media) and (I’m) happy to be back here doing it so with that, I’ll open it up.”
Q: How has the rookie class looked so far?
SPAGNUOLO: “They’re all young, they don’t know anything right now (laughs). So, obviously, you’re asking about Felix (Anudike-Uzomah). We haven’t seen a lot on him because he’s been dinged up a little bit so it’s hard to tell. We’ve had Chamarri (Conner) out there, he’s slowly progressing, he made a really good play today. Nic Jones, right? Nic’s playing some nickel for us, fittingly. He’s done some good things coming from a small school, Ball State. BJ (Thompson), I know I’m going to miss one but BJ Thompson – BJ’s been pretty impressive. He’s done some good things. He’s a young, raw guy (but) we knew that going in. He stuck out today, (he) made a play. Who’s my fifth? Keondre (Coburn). KC, I call him KC. (He does a) great job. (He’s) just an energetic, passionate guy. He reminds me a lot of (Saint’s DT) Khalen Saunders, really. Same body type and hopefully he can be the same kind of player so that’s a little bit of a wrap up on those five draft picks. Then, we’ve got some other younger guys out there running around – listen, you guys have asked this before and been through it, there’s a huge amount of volume thrown at them right now, Justin Reid went through it last year. The vets that come in go through it and it takes a little while. We don’t take that to the game and all these young guys are kind of spinning and floating. But a little bit of smoothing out now. We went through Phase 1 (which is) just meetings, Phase 2, we were doing walk throughs then we get them out there going against our offense then they’re spinning. But we got through practice six today so hopefully it’s starting to smooth out a little bit.”
Q: How does Charles Omenihu and Drue Tranquill fit in the mix for you?
SPAGNUOLO: “Look, they’re doing a great job. They’re terrific, both of those guys are pros, real intelligent football players (and I’m) really happy with what they’ve done to this point and where they’re at. I’m glad we got them. I just think both of those guys elevate their positions and I think that gives us a lot. We’ll see how we work them all in, it’s going to take a little while for that but right now. (But) from what I’ve seen, Drue’s made a lot of plays. You know, for a lineman in these practices, we can’t finish. You’ve got to stay away from the quarterback, and you know, they pull up so it’s a little bit tougher to tell there but (I) love they way both of those guys operate.”
Q: How do you feel about your defensive line group as of right now?
SPAGNUOLO: “Yeah, right now. Now listen, we’ve still got to see. We know George (Karlaftis) has been here, right? Mike Danna (has been here). We don’t know Charles (Omenihu), I mean we know what he did in (San Francisco). We don’t know Felix (Anudike-Uzomah), right? Way too early on that. Now, Malik Herring and Josh Kaindoh, I’m really, really hopeful for those two guys to surface. They’ve been here for a while (and) they know what they’re doing but it’s up to them to take that next step and both of those guys have done a really good job to this point. Those are the six I think we’re talking about, right? But you’re right, thank God for (General Manager) Brett (Veach) in the last few years we’ve been able to (pick up defensive linemen)– Carlos (Dunlap), I think we got early, right? Training camp or something. And I’m sure we’d try to do that again either way. Maybe, I guess the hope is that we don’t have to, right? That would be a good problem to have.
Q: How much more comfortable does the second-year defensive back group look?
SPAGNUOLO: “You can just ask them, Trent (McDuffie) included, right? The five of them – NJ (Nazeeh Johnson) is out there doing a great job. I sat with them or was somewhere with them a week ago and they’re like lightyears ahead. They feel it and it’s different and they’re confident. The first day that we went out there for a walk through, the communication and the talking – now, I’m including Justin Reid in that because last year was all new for him, too, even though he was a vet they system was new. And those guys (snaps) just from a verbal and being kind of tied in from that standpoint, they were just jelling.”
ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Q: Are any new potential returners emerging from the group?
TOUB: “Oh yeah. Yeah, I do anticipate that. Some guys that are doing really well right now you probably want to know (are Deneric) Prince is looking good as a running back. He reminds me so much of – you guys remember (former Chiefs Running Back) Knile Davis? He reminds me of Knile, he even has the same number. (He) didn’t do it in college, but he’s showing traits right now that he reminds me so much of Knile that it’s kind of scary. And you know, Knile was pretty good for us. As he went on, obviously the touchdowns. And so, I see him in that role.”
Q: What about Richie James as a potential returner?
TOUB: “Richie James is a guy that – he’s got experience, (he) did it in NFL games, which that’s huge as we know. And he’s definitely in the mix. (John) Ross – the other one, No. 85 – he’s another guy that’s got speed. (He) had injury problems at Cincinnati, but if he could stay healthy, he’s definitely in the mix. He’s probably one of our fastest players back there. And then you still got Skyy (Moore) and Ihmir (Smith-Marsette). We have a bunch of guys that are possible guys that can do that for us.”
Q: Last year you guys lost a lot of special teams contributors and had to start fresh. What’s it like to return a good group of special teams contributors?
TOUB: “Everything goes in cycles. Like last year we had the cycle of young players, you know, and they did a great job and they got better and better as the year went on. Obviously, in the playoffs we were reaching our peak. It took a while to get there but we were playing good football then when we need to. They’re all back. All those guys are back so they’re going to be that much better (and) now we’ve got a new group of young players coming in so as a group, I predict that we’ll be better right from the start.”
Q: I know it’s hard to tell but is there anybody out of the young group that you think will help you out early?
TOUB: “It’s really hard. I’m excited about the linebackers – I talked about (Deneric) Prince, I’m excited about the young linebackers, (Isaiah) Moore and (Cam) Jones, the two free agent kids that we have. I like the kids that we drafted, (Chamarri) Conner and (Nic) Jones. Both of those guys are going to help us right off the bat. The d-lineman, the defensive end, possibly some role players but not so much as a four phase guy but I’m excited about the young players but really it’s those last year’s young players that are getting better that are going to – guys like (Jack) Cochrane and Nazeeh (Johnson). You know towards the end of the year Nazeeh Johnson, as a gunner, he was playing better than anybody in the league. So, I’m excited about him. He’ll probably be our number one gunner coming into next year.”
RUNNING BACKS COACH TODD PINKSTON
Q: You’re not the first wide receiver to coach running backs for Coach Reid. What are your thoughts on coaching a position that you didn’t play in the NFL?
PINKSTON: “As far as being a coach, you feel like you can coach anything. It was a learning process for me coming from being a wide out and now you learn a lot more of the fronts (and) what the o-line (is) doing. Once I got used to that I’m still continuing to get used to it, it gets me excited about it because you know things get easier for me.”
Q: What’s the experience been like going from playing under Head Coach Andy Reid when you played for the Eagles to now coaching under him?
PINKSTON: “It’s good. It’s good. I know what to expect from him as far as the ins and outs and what to do and what not to do. It’s fun being on this side of the ball now. It’s giving me the joy that when he gave me the call, I was delighted to get an opportunity to come coach for him.”
Q: When you were a player for Head Coach Andy Reid, did you ever envision one day coaching for him? Did you ever have a conversation about coaching for him one day?
PINKSTON: “He always asked me because I’m always hitting him up every week when I left Philly or whatever. I’d always say, ‘Good luck, great job coach, and Coach, how’s the family?’ So, I’m always keeping in contact with him, and he always (asked) me ‘What am I doing?’ Am I always coaching somewhere? As far if it’s a high school or college. I guess he saw the vision that I have and I have for myself being a coach’s son. I guess he saw it in me, so he gave me the opportunity to come be an intern with him last OTAs and last training camp and he saw something in me to bring me aboard.”
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH CONNOR EMBREE
Q: You’re a young guy but when you look at your resume it’s been a lot of work to get to this point. What has it been like these past few years being here and working way behind the scenes?
EMBREE: “Yeah, I mean it’s a lot. Yeah, I’m young but I’ve been around it my whole life. Like I said, my dad’s been in this business. My brother is a coach for the Jets. My uncle is a high school coach out in Santa Margarita, California but yeah it’s just always been in my blood. I grew up wanting to be a coach. So, it takes – (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid puts a lot on us. Like you said, the behind-the-scenes type of people. I learned a lot. I had a bunch of great coaches to learn under and it’s just been fun, so. Other than that, not much.”
Q: What are your initial thoughts on Rashee Rice?
EMBREE: “He’s doing great. The whole group’s doing great. I like the whole, all 12, I think we have 12, yeah, all 12 of them. They’ve all been in working. I have zero complaints. He’s got some juice to him. He’s a bigger bodied guy that we don’t really have in our room, so he’s a little different in that way. But he’s been great. He’s been great in the classroom (and) been great on the field.”
Q: How have you seen Skyy Moore begin to take a next step as he returns for his second year?
EMBREE: “Skyy (Moore)? Yeah, Skyy’s been great. Skyy, you know we put a lot on him last year. Usually when we get a receiver, we try to keep them at one position. And, you know that’s easier to learn that way, but we threw a lot at him last year. He played every position, all three of them – x, zebra and z. But he’s been great. He came back in great shape. He looks stronger (and) he’s a little bigger and then he’s just got that year under his belt. So, he’s not that little puppy dog anymore. He kind of understands what’s going on (and) understands the tempo we practice at and just how to be a pro so he’s been great.”
Q: Do you have an example of some of the harder assignments that Head Coach Andy Reid gave you when you were a quality control coach?
EMBREE: “I don’t know if it’s just one in general, I don’t know if can think of just one specific moment. But it’s just – that’s how he coaches on everyone. That’s why we are the way we are and everyone in the building’s that way. There’s a standard. It’s not just for the players it’s the coaches too and you learn that fast. It’s either you’re out or you’re coming up to the standard. But, like I said it’s been great learning from obviously one of the greatest or the greatest coaches there’s been in the league. I always joke, he’s forgotten more football than I’ll probably ever learn, so, he’s been a great mentor and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”