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What We Learned from Andy Reid during Wednesday's Media Availability

Andy Reid addressed the media on Wednesday

OPENING STATEMENT:"Okay, as far as the injuries go, the players that will not practice today: Tamba [Hali] will not practice today, Jaye Howard with a hip flexor strain will not practice today and then, Jeremy Maclin with the groin strain will not practice today. So, we'll take them day-by-day and see how they do. Really that's it. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Panthers. We know they're the reigning NFC Champions. They went to the Super Bowl. They've got a very, very good football team. Very well coached – Ron Rivera does a phenomenal job. Their coordinators, between [Mike] Shula and [Sean] McDermott, do a phenomenal job. We're going to come out here and take care of what we need to take care of as far as practice goes and make sure we get our game plan down."

Q:What do you think the biggest difference is in the Panthers from a year ago, where they were undefeated, and this year when wins have been hard to come by?

REID:"Well, we are seeing two wins back-to-back. So, you can say they are back on track. They look pretty good right now, and that's how we're preparing for a real good football team. The last two weeks you've seen that."

Q:How do you prepare for Cam Newton's size and physicality?

REID:"You just try to cradle it up a little bit. He's [Cam Newton] going to make plays – we know that. He's the MVP of the league and rightfully so. It's just a matter of limiting the number of big plays that he makes. Obviously, when he runs, you have to wrap up, and when he's throwing, he does a great job of holding on to the ball and getting those guys in a position to catch it. He's got a big arm, so you have to have tight coverage on him."

Q:Is there anything else that the NFL can do to protect quarterbacks or do you feel like what's in place is sufficient for them?

REID:"Listen, I don't know. I've gone through it. I've had mobile quarterbacks my whole career including here. Heck, we complain a little bit about it too, but there's that whole human element of making the call. We all want to protect it better, but you still have to play the game and do all that. I don't know. You can answer that question and it won't cost you anything."

Q:Is it difficult or a challenge because you have to go 100 percent, but you don't want to draw flags?

*REID: *"Yeah, you have to be smart with it. That's part of it. The players know how to do it now. Are you going to be right every time as defender? Not always, but you try to do it the right way."

Q:Has Justin Houston been activated?

REID:"He's not been activated - no."

Q:You have to do that by today?

REID:"Yeah, by today. Two or three o'clock – whatever the time is."

Q:Spencer Ware passed the concussion protocol and is ready to go today?

REID:"He did. Spencer Ware did pass, yes he did."

Q:You plan to do that with Justin Houston today?

REID:"[John] Dorsey's call. I would presume that's going to happen, but its Dorsey's call."

Q:Draft class members from last year are contributing – how special is that?

REID:"Yeah, I think it's big. In this day and age, you have to have an influx of young players. That's just the way the cap works. You've got to draft well and those guys have to play. We've done that. [John] Dorsey has done that. We've had production from those guys – good production. It's a tribute to him."

Q:Can you tell us a little bit about Kendall Reyes stepping in and making tackles?

REID:"Yeah, so we know him from San Diego for four years or whatever it was when he started there. He's a good football player. Good, solid football player. He gets in there and grunts it out with the bigs'. He's one of those guys and loves doing it. We're fortunate to have him on the team – smart guy, very intelligent. [Anthony] Sherman would tell you everyone from UConn is intelligent, but he's an intelligent guy and works hard."

Q:What's different about Dee Ford this year that has allowed him to be so much better?

REID:"He's got to play an extended number of plays in back-to-back games, here. I think he's very comfortable with the defense now. It's a fairly complicated defense, but he's got a pretty good grasp of it. I think he's probably gotten stronger since we've gotten him. I think he's spent a ton of time in that weight room. He's got himself in shape to where he can do this back-to-back thing. You remember earlier in his career, he would get nicked up here and there. He works his tail off."

Q:Where will he be if and when Justin Houston comes back – have you decided that yet?

REID:"No, but I think that's a good thing. That's a good situation there. [Frank] Zombo's gotten good snaps too. Dadi [Nicolas], young guy coming up through. He's gotten some good snaps, so it's a positive thing."

Q:Is there a process with getting Alex Smith back into it after being out or is it he's been around long enough, he'll be good?

REID:"There's probably some of that – that he's been around long enough. Then, it's the speed that the practices. We've got to make sure we're practicing fast. It's a very fast defense. So, we got to make sure we're practicing it that way."

Q:Panther run defense ranks one of the best in the NFL, can you speak about what you see from their defensive line?

REID:"You could argue this will be the best defensive line that we've played up to this game or that we'll play this season. They're a good bunch, man. They get after it – their whole front seven. You take those linebackers and they go. [Sean] McDermott is a phenomenal football coach. He'd be a good head coach someday, here. Then, Ron [Rivera] was the master of defenses before that. These guys are getting coached, and they've got good players. They play hard, and they trust their defense."

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