Eagles' Mornhinweg not thinking about Browns, yet

Associated Press
Associated Press
Posted: January 04, 2011

MARTY MORNHINWEG had heard that his old friends Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert might be looking for a head coach in Cleveland, after firing Eric Mangini yesterday. Mornhinweg said he hadn't heard from the Browns, and pointed out that he can't hear from them, until after the wild-card round is complete. An Eagles source said Cleveland has not asked for permission to talk to the Eagles' offensive coordinator.

Not surprisingly, Mornhinweg said he has to put all his energy into preparing his second-ranked offense to face the NFL's fifth-ranked defense, when the Eagles host the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round this Sunday.

"There's no other way to do it - you have to have all your focus on this football game. That's what we expect of all the coaches and all the players," Mornhinweg said.

Asked if he expects to get interviewed, Mornhinweg, who was 5-27 in 2 years as head coach in Detroit, said: "We'll see."

The rules state that any team looking to hire another team's assistant who is under contract has to seek permission of the "owner or operating head" of that coach's team. If permission is granted, and the coach is involved in the wild-card round, the interview has to take place "after the Wild Card games and prior to the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games." Only one such interview can take place while the coach's team is involved in the playoffs.

Mornhinweg, 48, played under Holmgren, then an assistant coach, at Oak Grove High in San Jose, then coached under Holmgren when Holmgren was head coach of the Packers in 1995 and '96. Heckert and Mornhinweg worked together with the Eagles from 2003 until Heckert left for Cleveland last offseason.

Mornhinweg was optimistic yesterday about having a healthier, more functional Eagles offense for Sunday. He wasn't even deterred when asked to explain the Eagles' 50 sacks allowed, their highest figure of the Andy Reid era.

"Everybody's involved. The quarterback is key," Mornhinweg said. "In many sacks in the NFL, the quarterback can get the ball out and prevent the sack, let's say, two thirds of the time . . . With [Michael Vick]'s style of play, there's that fine line. You want him to be creative, and some of those great plays will continue to happen. If you drop that line down, then quarterbacks [in general] tend to be robotic; the creative, big plays, they go down just a little bit, you know? So there's a real fine line there."

Bradley 'a stretch'?

Eagles coach Andy Reid said yesterday that "it will be a stretch" for middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, out since Dec. 12 with a dislocated elbow, to play against Green Bay.

"We have to see how he does. He hasn't been able to do anything where he applies pressure on it. In other words, where you have to jam and do those types of things," Reid said.

Bradley indicated after Sunday's game that he expects to be able to play this week.

Reid was noncommittal in his day-after news conference about whether Dimitri Patterson or Joselio Hanson will start at right corner against the Packers, though he praised Patterson's play against Dallas. Last night on his WIP radio show, Reid indicated Patterson will remain the starter.

"I thought he played well, and so I think he deserves that opportunity," Reid said. "He's had a good year this year. He's an aggressive football player and he's got a Pro Bowl player [Asante Samuel] playing opposite him that people don't like to throw at, so Dimitri gets the majority of the throws coming his direction . . . He takes some chances at times and then he learns from them and he comes back. That's part of being a young guy that's learning and only getting better."

Reid was optimistic about right guard Max Jean-Gilles playing, after suffering a left ankle injury Sunday.

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

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