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Tuesdays with McCarthy

Posted Nov 12, 2013

In this week's edition, the head coach discusses the QB situation, the play of the defense and the upcoming Giants game, among other topics.

Q. What’s happening late in the game?

We’re obviously not playing our best football. We’ve looked at it. We’ve looked at every play call and things like that, but at the end of the day, the focus and discipline required to perform is where we need to make an improvement. It’s nothing earth-shattering as far as what needs to be done. It’s the fundamentals, it’s the little things, and as a football team, we’ve been talking about it too long.

Q. Why announce the starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game as quickly as you did?

He’s the only healthy quarterback that we have, and I was impressed with the way Scott Tolzien played. I was stating an obvious fact as to how we were moving forward. It’s important anytime things aren’t clear to provide clarity. I knew Seneca was injured and was unlikely to play. If he couldn’t play against the Eagles, his chance to play the following week was probably minimal. Scott also played well. There was a lot of production on offense. The issue was the red-zone production, and I thought Scott’s performance was something we need to build from.

Q. What had you seen in Scott Tolzien during his time on the practice squad?

The first thing that jumps out to me is Scott’s work ethic. He really works at it. He’s had a lot of change compared to his prior opportunities. There are a lot of fundamental changes with what we’re asking him to do, and he works endlessly at it. Mentally, he puts in all the extra time. He’s committed to being the most detailed quarterback he can possibly be. It’s an excellent attribute, and that’s something as a coaching staff we want to tap into.

Q. LeSean McCoy was able to bounce the ball outside. Why?

We lost the edge. Regardless of who the edge player was or when it happened, that’s his running style. He has the ability to set a course and jump cut to get to the edge, or cut the ball back. He’s a talented runner, and we knew that going in. There’s a contain element on every run defense that’s called, and those particular times we did not maintain it.

Q. You won the stats decidedly. Time of possession, third-down conversions, passing yards. Was it all about big plays?

Definitely. Their big plays were touchdowns. Our big plays were not. They had three touchdown passes over the top. That was a key statistic in the outcome of the football game.

Q. Was there anything about their offensive scheme that was a surprise?

They made some adjustments, but the challenge with their tempo was probably what we handled best on defense. Our communication was outstanding. They had an unbalanced formation we had to adjust to the first time we saw it, and our guys did a good job with that. The communication and game-management part for our defense was a highlight, one of the better things that we did.

Q. Is that the future of offensive football?

It’s a form of what the NFL has obviously become. It’s more of a space game. Everybody has a vertical element to their offense. The tempo, how much no-huddle an offense runs, that’s the way this game has gone and the Eagles’ offense is a variation of it.

Q. Your defense was playing the run beautifully until the Bears game. What’s happened?

I don’t think it’s as simple as that. We’ve had some change in personnel, and the tackling the last two weeks is clearly not where it needs to be.

Q. Is it safe to say you found yourself playing, for the second consecutive week, with a scheme designed for another quarterback?

I wouldn’t say that. It was a game plan practiced by another quarterback. The change from Aaron to Seneca was clearly different. The challenge for Seneca coming in was very big because of how we prepared that week of the game to play against Chicago, as opposed to how we prepared to play against Philadelphia. Scott’s biggest challenge was he hadn’t had a chance to practice any of it. Both guys came in and did a lot of good things in the situation they were in.

Q. What is your expectation this week?

To win, to play to our strengths and to maximize the opportunities that we’re going to have in New York. This is an important football game for both teams. The sense of urgency is heightened. This is what football in the third quarter of the season starts to look like. There’s definitely a different gear, a different level these guys will be playing at on Sunday.

To see previous editions of Tuesdays with McCarthy, click here.

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